"Authentic." It's one of branding's holy grails, implying good ol' fashioned, home-spun quality, especially in tumultuous times. We've seen it everywhere, from fashion  to food . Ironically, it's often the biggest companies that try to seem the smallest. Take Starbucks. It opened a stealthy, "neighborhood" café in Seattle last summer, called 15th Avenue Coffee & Tea , complete with open mic nights, poetry readings, and minimal corporate signage. 15th Avenue even boasts  the trendy , super low-fi "pour over" method.
Then they shifted gears with Via , a new spin on instant coffee--the joke of the java world--and by buying up  Clover, maker of those infamously expensive , high-tech brewers. Now, Starbucks is rumored to be testing  an industrial-size, 32-ounce offering for its iced drinks, putting it smack in truck-stop big gulp territory. Authentic? Hardly.
Which might be why Minneapolis-based Caribou, with only 500-some locations in the U.S., a distant second to Starbucks's 11,000, has stepped in to claim the home-grown coffee crown. The brand's redesign , produced by Minneapolis neighbors Colle+McVoy , features a hand-scribbled typeface, feel-good doodles, and a friendly, cursive new logotype. It might be a bit cute, but it's a world away from their jittery, over-caffeinated, and down-right aggressive old logo--can't I sleep at all? (below, top). (Not to mention, it was weirdly similar to old-style Cherry Coke .) Plus, the new caribou is jumping to the right instead of to the left. "Into the future" , Caribou says. At least they have a sense of humor.
[Via Brand New ]
UPDATE In an email, Starbucks confirmed their new drink size, called the Trenta, but it's actually 31 ounces, not 32.