Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Letters: Dear and Starbucks

Orny Adams
February 21, 2007

Well, I’m at it again. People have been doing it for years and with the internet, we now have instant access to these corporations. I know I have shared some of my letters with you from the stage (Campbells Soup). But here are my most recent. I will let you know when I hear back. (Be prepared for some lame responses. Usually when you send an email to customer service, immediately you get an email back saying, “We got your email and it’ll take a while for us to respond to it.” Which means it’s a form letter notifying you that you’ll be getting another more specific form letter later.)


Dear Geico dot com,

Have your cavemen gotten angrier? I hate to see their spirit destroyed by the modern world. I would hope with all the progress they see more advantages than disadvantages and would not be ill affected by a commercial slogan such as, “So easy a caveman can do it.” I noticed over time your animated Gecko became more and more vexed too. Is it that hard to be a pitchman for your company?

And just to be clear, are these cavemen the same ones that would drag their woman around by their hair? Not so considerate of a mascot I would think. I take it these are a more latter-day parody of the caveman we come from (or don’t depending on your view of creationism your parents might be home schooling you with). I only suggest this because these cavemen appear clean, bright, and articulate (Not my words-- Joe Biden’s.)

But more urgent: in your latest commercial two cavemen are commiserating about the prejudices against their people on a deck during a swinging party. If you haven’t seen the commercial:
Geico Cavmen at Party

“Caveman A” is riding “Caveman B” for being disloyal and caving in (sorry) because he switched to Geico for lower car insurance rates. Well who could resist? As if this commercial could not get any more exciting (modern sarcasm), out of nowhere, a third caveman (we’ll call him “Caveman C”) comes out of the house to announce that he and his ex Tina are getting back together. This moment makes even less sense than the entire advertising campaign! And is almost as uncomfortable as your circus-like use of little person Verne Troyer dancing uncomfortably on a table next to a grill singing “It’s your birthday”. It is so apparent that deflated Verne is thinking solely about his paycheck the whole time. Congrats, it only took one spot to piss off that little pitchman. It actually would’ve been funnier to have a full sized person dancing on that table. A giant. An NBA star. How much lower can you go-- what’s next a bald Britney Spears, “So easy an amateur hairdresser can do it?” Here is the Verne Troyer commercial for your disgust:
Verne Troyer being humiliated

Back to the party; “Caveman A” snaps at “Caveman C” for interrupting is little anti-Geico intervention and… cut to your slogan that it’s so easy a caveman can do it. But you really blew it on this one. This commercial should’ve been tagged with, “So easy a caveman DID IT.” Did it! Now it is factual, a caveman can sign up for your insurance online. Prior to this, it was purely conjecture. Then I tried to do it and couldn’t figure it out. Now I’m angry. So easy I couldn’t do it. Insulted. You guys make everyone angry.

But how could you miss that obvious tag? This should be the zenith of the campaign-- we should all be toasting the end of the caveman campaign. But if you missed this tag, what else is your company missing? Missing little things could cost the consumer money. And I was So close to going Geico and now I have serious reservations. Your thoughts?

Pulling my own hair,
Orny Adams

*** If you want to write you own letter, or cut and paste and resend mine under your email, here is the link:
Geico letters


Dear Starbucks,

I have noticed lately a higher failure rate in your cups to prevent dripping out of the seams and under the lip of the lid. Are you using cheaper materials or have you switched cup manufacturers? I would like to know. A lot of us would like to know—as we prefer our coffee in our mouths and not on our fingers. This has been a consistent problem throughout your stores, as I travel and visit many in this lovely country. (You are everywhere. I am starting to think you are a franchise?)

I am free to discuss this and other matters concerning your stores-- like your famous policy to discard drip coffee 30 minutes after it is brewed to preserve freshness of your product… but you let the milk and cream sit out all day in those thermoses building up a crusty white, Ebola residue on the black spouts? (Because of my over consumption of your product, and my fondness for cream, I have built up an immunity to cholera, bird flu, and xenophobia.) Those thermoses should have nifty timers around their necks like the drip coffee kegs. Don’t you think?

Another matter that concerns me: since introducing the “Starbucks Cards”, I have noticed a lot less tips being left for your claimed baristas. It was easier to tip or leave your change in that art deco squared glass tip container when using cash. Now, tipping involves the customer using two forms of payment and really defeats the convenience of having the card. Here is my suggestion; (Are you shocked that I have one?) since you are tying up our money and presumably using it and accruing interest or monies from investments with it, a percentage of all “Starbucks Cards” purchases should be given to the baristas as tips. I know you are very proud of the benefits you provide your employees. And then we can feel less guilty if we are not tipping a buck every time we just want a $1.50 cup of drip coffee. We can swipe with pride.

Thank you in advance. You have brightened the days of many of us by taking over every corner in this country.

By the way, loved “Akeelah and the Bee.” And shouldn’t it be Starbuck’s?

Orny Adams

*** If you want to write you own letter, or cut and paste and resend mine under your email, here is the link:
Starbucks Letters

© Copyright Orny Adams, Icrushed Productions 2007