Since Akeelah and the Bee, Starbucks really hasn't had great luck with its movie promotional efforts. (Especially compared with in-store music sales, which are doing quite nicely.) But still, the company keeps trying. The latest tie-in flick is Arctic Tale, which seeks to combine March of the Penguins with An Inconvenient Truth. (Our Ella Taylor's review says it only half-succeeds on both counts.) But what I love is the helpful marketing-by-guilt on the corrugated cardboard heat sleeve--made from 60% recycled paper!--that bears the slogan "The change in their world impacts us all." The phrase "global warming" isn't used, of course, since it might be too controversial in the red states.
But we can all get behind "change," that favorite watchword of politicians, since it neatly straddles the pro and the con. It's neutral, like the helpful environmental tip--not actually called an environmental tip--also printed on the sleeve: "What can we do at home to help save theirs? Shave two minutes off our shower time." How are shorter showers are connected to the environment? Why are longer showers bad? How is our home connected to that of the adorable, cuddly polar bears? How is change analogous to global warming? And how does "impact"--another carefully neutral word choice--differ from, say, "is also the result of our selfish consumer behavior returning to destroy"? (Granted, that much verbiage might require a bigger heat sleeve, or two of them, which would also be environmentally suspect.)
So many questions from one little heat sleeve. Pondering them will require buying another cup of coffee, although Starbucks doesn't provide any special tip jar or donation fund for the polar bears being so curiously impacted. For them I guess the implicit message to so many marketing vagaries may be, "Keep the change."