If Coffee Commercials Told the Unvarnished Truth

A new com­e­dy video from Cracked makes a fair point: there’s a lot of bull­shit that goes into the mar­ket­ing of cof­fee nowa­days. Slap the words “organ­ic” and “fair trade” on the prod­uct, and every­one feels pret­ty good about keep­ing their caf­feine addic­tions going. Sev­er­al years ago, Sloven­ian the­o­rist Slavoj Žižek took a clos­er look at this phe­nom­e­non and drew some inter­est­ing con­clu­sions about how, with­in con­tem­po­rary cap­i­tal­ism, com­pa­nies like Star­bucks have reworked Max Weber’s Protes­tant Eth­ic, and found new ways to square our eco­nom­ic and spir­i­tu­al lives. Star­bucks has made it, Žižek notes, so that when we enter their stores, we’re not just buy­ing cof­fee and being con­sumers. Rather, we’re buy­ing fair trade and eco-friend­ly cof­fee, par­tic­i­pat­ing in char­i­ta­ble work, and leav­ing with a sense of redemp­tion. The ani­mat­ed video is worth a look.

And lest you think mar­ket­ing cof­fee has always been a sun­ny affair, let me turn your atten­tion to this post in our archive: Men In Com­mer­cials Being Jerks About Cof­fee: A Mashup of 1950s & 1960s TV Ads.

Relat­ed Con­tent

“The Virtues of Cof­fee” Explained in 1690 Ad: The Cure for Lethar­gy, Scurvy, Drop­sy, Gout & More

Philoso­phers Drink­ing Cof­fee: The Exces­sive Habits of Kant, Voltaire & Kierkegaard

The Birth of London’s 1950s Bohemi­an Cof­fee Bars Doc­u­ment­ed in a Vin­tage 1959 News­reel

How William S. Bur­roughs Used the Cut-Up Tech­nique to Shut Down London’s First Espres­so Bar (1972)

Good Cap­i­tal­ist Kar­ma: Zizek Ani­mat­ed


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  • Ronyjahid says:

    With so many peo­ple telling you about all the haz­ards, you can’t eat or drink any­thing. You can’t say any­thing, go any­where, do any­thing, vis­it any­one. BUT, you will live a long life———of absolute mis­ery! Well, I guess I’ll drink a cup of cof­fee to that.

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