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Engineering our coffee, our dogs: The coming backlash


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July 02, 2006

Engineering our coffee, our dogs: The coming backlash

Stephen Baker

I'm in a Starbucks in Portland drinking a small latte with an extra shot. I have orders to take home an eight-ounce latte, half skim... you get the idea. Made to order. At home, my sister has a labradoodle (which looks like an Irish wolfhound). My nephew and his girlfriend have a puppy that's half poodle, half Shi Tzu, a poodtzu, perhaps? Check out this page of designer dogs.

The point is that we're replacing old standards like a cup of coffee and a hound dog with highly engineered and personalized products and brands.

I predict a backlash. Entrepreneurs will stir up a nostalgic fervor by selling us modern versions of the old classics. They'll pick up loads of dogs at the pound and sell them as classic American breeds. Maybe you pick the size, and they'll surprise you with some kind of mix you never dreamed of before (and they won't be able to tell you what it is. The mystery endures...) Meanwhile, look for a coffee entrepreneur to build a business around the classic coffee, perhaps calling it Joe. (Of course, it better not taste like dishwater. We have been learning something at Starbucks.) Are there other products and services ready for a nostalgic makeover?

10:27 AM

marketing, society

It's not dogs that concerns me. If you've not seen the movie "Gattaca", I very highly recommend it.

Posted by: csven at July 2, 2006 03:40 PM

It doesn't seem to matter what generation or era we hail from - it's almost every product or niche launched on the market-place is a "remake" from another era.

Of course there are exceptions, but the Classic Coke backlash is sure to be seen in many different markets.

Good post.

-Terry

Posted by: Terry at July 2, 2006 11:53 PM

hey! don't knock labradoodles. Benny Box Ochman Labradoodle is non-allergic, so my nephew who has asthma can come to visit. And besides, he doesn't shed.

But yes, there are products and services ready for a nostalgic makeover: door-to-door delivery of milk with cream on top is one. I'd pay for that.

Posted by: B.L. Ochman at July 4, 2006 07:34 PM

"Joe"? In Canada, Starbucks seems to have misjudged their competition's position. Up here, the Tim Hortons brand is still the strongest and it's just your good ol' traditional cup o' joe.

Posted by: Don the Fell at July 10, 2006 02:39 AM


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