Paul Lucas Professor Paisley Mann English 110B 19 October 2012 A Rhetorical Analysis of “For the Love of Joe: The Language of Starbucks” In the journal article “For the Love of Joe: The Language of Starbucks” (2008), Constance M. Ruzich analyzes the success and rise to popularity of The Starbucks Coffee Company around the globe. The article is written and structured for the general public to read and understand. It is meant to be an informative article and as such, Ruzich makes use of a lot of data and includes citations from a variety of other academic sources.
She also uses different ways to measure the popularity of Starbucks, not just the financial aspect, but also in terms of its economic status in a global coffee market, just to give us different points of view in relation to her thesis. Her choice in the title is also very appropriate for the topic, which will be discussed later on in this paper. Ruzich begins her article by giving the readers a brief background on coffee. She is informing us, the readers, on how coffee came about and touches on the “The history of coffee production, consumption and advertising... (428). Through this, those who are unfamiliar with the origins of coffee will also be captured, as they will get a sense of understanding about where her arguments will lead to later on in the article. It also gives the readers a chance to compare on how coffee was perceived by global consumers, before and after Starbucks was established. She explains, “The nineteenth century saw the rise of coffee as an international commodity and the accompanying development of coffee-based economies in South America and other developing nations... ” (430).
Upon capturing the audience, she starts to state a lot of facts and she extensively uses quotations from other studies throughout the entire article. The facts become the structure of the article; they lead the readers to have a certain understanding of previous views and studies of the situation. The quotations on the other hand gives the author credibility, the use of the quotations makes it seem to be more accurate since she is not the only one who understands Starbucks in that manner and the readers are assured the information is unaltered.
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For example, in her discussion on the world’s coffee market, she quotes Wild citing, “ ‘Vietnam had become the world’s second largest coffee producer after Brazil. ’ further depressing the falling price of coffee in the international market (Wild 6)... ” (430) She is in a way borrowing the credentials of scholarly and more popular people to make what she is discussing more acceptable to the audience. It also shows how knowledgeable she is of the topic that she can use these quotes to present and defend her thesis.
The vast use of technical data would also make it seem that it was not written for the general public but she interprets them and puts it in terms more common to the public and through this, anyone could comprehend with what her idea is. Another thing that is evident in the article is how Ruzich compares Starbucks with a lot of its competitors, even those that are not directly competing with Starbucks; they are in the coffee business but they only sell instant coffee as opposed to specialty coffee.
For example, she supports her argument by providing statistics of coffee in the global market and how Starbucks places given its premium status. “Despite the attention the Starbucks has drawn, it has not yet reached the status of a major player in the world markets, and in the United States, Dunkin’ Donuts still sells more coffee than any specialty coffee retailer” (431). This was a fact during the infancy stage of Starbucks. Besides from this, she measures the company’s success in how little advertising it needed to become one of the leading specialty coffee house. Indeed, the company spent less than $10 million on advertising in its first twenty-five years” (qtd. in Pendergrast 378). Which clearly shows, Starbucks’ advantage towards the other coffee retailers. The title she gave for the article, “For the Love of Joe: The Language of Starbucks”, is as I said in the introduction, appropriate, particularly her use of the word “Joe”. “Joe”, according to the New Oxford American Dictionary, has two possible meanings. It can either be interpreted as coffee or the average person.
Her article basically revolves around these two meanings of “Joe” and how they relate. In the article she studies how the average person or “average joe”, if you will, reacts or has reacted to Starbucks’ influence and practices of personal consumption. Therefore, this brilliant way of presentation has made it easy to remember the main topic since it can all be associated with just one word. With all these literary devices and techniques used, it is not hard to stay on the same track as Ruzich. The readers will more or less be able to reach the same conclusion and have the ame idea as she has. The article has clearly shown that many people have adapted Starbucks’ use of in-store language and it makes them feel like they belong. In truth however, the use of in-store language is an advertising scheme that has the end goal of manipulating, persuading and selling its well-known products to the “average joe” consumer (440). In-store language is used to implant the idea of Starbucks into the consumer’s mind. Works Cited Ruzich, Constance M. "The Journal of Popular Culture. " Journal of Popular Culture. 41. 3 (2008): 428–442. Print.
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