Enough With the 'Raising Awareness' Garbage

Starbucks, Paramount Movie Effort Flops, but That's Just Swell!

By Published on . 3

Interesting piece -- in the Los Angeles Times of all places! -- about the latest venture between Starbucks and a movie studio. Paramount's summer release, "Arctic Tale," is performing miserably. How you mess up a movie about a cute little polar bear and a chubby little walrus is beyond me. Perhaps that cheesy preaching from Queen Latifah and the grrrl-power/boys-are-stupid vibe didn't help.

That's not the point. The point is "the film has grossed roughly $600,000 domestically since its release July 25."

And that's just fine with Ken Lombard, president of Starbucks Entertainment. "Our measurement of success was not the box office," Lombard said. "Our measurement of success was to do as much as we could to encourage discussion around the critical issue of today -- global warming."

I'm sure that's the sort of thing that Starbucks shareholders want to hear. "We don't measure success in stupid old dollars. We're more interested in conversation." What? Did Lombard follow patrons around and eavesdrop. "Hey! We've got two people discussing global warming on Table 2. Sweet! It's a success." And does that conversation count if it's two global-warming naysayers talking about the polar bear population being at its highest point in the last 40 years?

It seems that in its book and music selections, Starbucks picks things that its core audience might be interested in that they'll actually buy it at a premium price in the store. But with movies, we're supposed to believe that the company is just happy to spark a conversation?

More annoying still is the idea that a company -- hell, anyone -- needs to encourage discussion or raise awareness about global warming. Who ISN'T aware of it by now? Even the deniers are aware of it. Even they are having a discussion about it. The only people not talking about it are those Amazonian tribes who have no contact with the modern world! So stop it already. If you're going to do something -- cut carbon emissions, use solar power, plant trees or whatever -- then do something. Quit it with the "Oh, we raised awareness." Talk about your b.s. metrics.

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