Bananas. It was like falling in love for the first time.My eyes were immediately drawn to the mug sitting on the top shelf as I trudged into Starbucks for my morning cup of latte. Suddenly, my daily coffee run turned into a dramatic soap opera scene quite like the one where the girl falls head over heels love with a handsome boy. Except this one’s not a boy – it’s a mug. With bananas. A flamingo perched amongst a field of bullfrogs would not have been any more striking.The mug had its giant signature siren-approved logo plastered on it, but beyond that, nothing else felt Starbucks-esque. I was bewilscinated – a mixture of bewilderment and fascination – by the photorealistic bananas cropped neatly on a faded pink background.Really, Starbucks? Bananas? Pink? Why not oranges or mangoes or pears! Okay frankly, it was so quirky that it was endearing. It’s just so... me. Pre-coffee, of course.Needless to say, I was in love. I bought it.Oh but here comes the horrible part. Like any obnoxious sleuthing girlfriend that digs up everything about her new boyfriend’s exes, I was determined to find out where the bananas came from. It just seemed so out of place, so unlike the Starbucks everyone knows. I wasn’t sure if it was the bananas or Starbuck’s siren that didn’t belong.Why bananas? I popped the question to every Starbucks barista I could find. No one had an answer and they would look at me like I was bananas. I didn’t care – I wanted to know.So I came up with a few low hanging fruit theories of my own:Theory #1: Banana WorshipThe designer liked bananas. That’s it. Well, they liked it enough to coat an entire mug with pictures of real bananas to worship it forever. Every day. During their coffee ritual.Theory #2: Promote Banana Sales at StarbucksBy purposely putting bananas on the mug, Starbucks’ internal agenda is to increase banana sales. Compared to a banana at a supermarket, a banana at Starbucks is $1.00. (I feel my wallet bleeding and screaming in agony.)Theory #3: The Designed Accident
Sometimes designer credit intensive brainstorm, innovation sessions, consumer insight research as their source of success when in reality, it was a serendipitous accident. Maybe a designer saw bananas on a grocery list and thought – hmm, why don’t we put bananas on a mug?