Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Variety is the Spice (Not Cider) of Life

Seeing as how it's the holiday season and we've had our share of cold days lately, I've been indulging in one of my favorite warm holiday drinks quite a bit these days: Caramel Apple Cider from Starbucks. Except something's different now--they're not calling it that anymore. It's become "Caramel Apple Spice."

Huh? That's just silly to me. "Spice" doesn't sound like a drink; it sounds like something you put in a drink. But I think I know why they did it: They don't always use cider; sometimes it's just plain ol' apple juice from the grocery store (I've seen the bottle before). I can remember a time or two when the drink formerly known as CAC wasn't available because they ran out of apple juice (the term they used), and I suggested that they just send someone next door to the grocery store to get more, but that never worked.

So did they make this change in the name of honesty, or were they pressured into doing it? (And if you're wondering, I pretty much got a Starbucks employee to admit a few weeks ago that the reason for the change was indeed that true cider was not being used in the making of the drink.) Was it an outcry from customers who could taste the difference, or did the International Brotherhood of Apple Growers and Mashers demand that anything bearing the word "cider" in fact be made of cider?

(The whole corporate thing isn't just whimsy, you know. When I worked in a fast-food place in high school, we served Pepsi products, and we were required to correct customers who asked for a Coke. The alleged reason for this was that Coca-Cola would send in corporate spies to ask for a Coke, and if they weren't corrected--and the beverage was analyzed at the lab and found to be something other than Coca-Cola--lawsuits would begin.)

Still, it's a silly name for a drink, so I find myself kicking it old-school on the name. Thankfully, no barista has been crude enough to correct me yet. (I did try it once, but it came out as a hybrid: "Caramel Apple Spider." Sounds like a twisted Halloween treat to me.)

What's your favorite dumb product name, especially one that changed because of some silly regulation? Those of a certain age may nominate any cereal that used to have "Sugar" in the title, but I'm sure there are more out there.

Roo on the loose: DId you hear about the escaped kangaroo in Lewisville over the weekend? Enjoy the video...


Anonymous said...

What's your favorite dumb product name, especially one that changed because of some silly regulation?

Hey Kev! First time back here in a while. Let me tell you what makes me roll my eyes.... Companies in December and January advertising contests to win "tickets to the big football game" or in March to win "tickets to the basketball tournament."

Anything to clumsily avoid using the words Super Bowl(TM) or Final Four(TM) or other common, yet trademarked, names of postseason championship games.

I blame the lawyers.

Kev said...

Welcome back, Gary! And yeah, I believe you're right about the lawyers; I'm pretty sure that only stations on the network that's airing "the big game" can use the big S-B or F-F. You'd think that a contest which actually produced tickets to said game would be able to fall under the licensing agreement in some way.