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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Oh, and a Big Wrist Slap to Caffe Vita

posted by on November 5 at 14:22 PM

This?

IMG_5205.JPG

Is mercenary, opportunistic, and tone-deaf.

Way to be the first people to take an awesome political moment and use it for purely commercial self-promotion.

I’ll be staying away from Vita and its sister business, Via Tribunali, for perhaps the duration of the first Obama administration.

You’re jackasses.

UPDATE!

I take back “jackasses.” That was unnecessary. (I’m still grumpy from having to hang out with Republicans last night who muted Obama’s acceptance speech.)

But I maintain that the impulseóto cash in on something beautifulódeserves calling out.

RSS icon Comments

1

Seconded.

Posted by SEAN NELSON, EMERITUS | November 5, 2008 2:24 PM
2

Got some sand in your vagina?

Posted by Mr. Poe | November 5, 2008 2:26 PM
3

Well, we've been known to miss the mark every now and then too. I will still be patronizing Vita. And I predict that Brendan will be too, in a week or two.

But, yeah... Obama = clown? On election day? Uh...

Posted by Dan Savage | November 5, 2008 2:26 PM
4

thirded. don't forget that slimeball dickhead also has his money tied up in Cremant too.

Vita, Tribunali and Cremant.

Posted by brian | November 5, 2008 2:26 PM
5

wow! that is absurd. please stop vita- just stop. NOT COOL.

Posted by peopledust | November 5, 2008 2:26 PM
6

Uh, the election's over. He won. Where's the harm?

I'll be making myself a nice cup of Bistro Blend now.

Posted by mint chocolate chip | November 5, 2008 2:27 PM
7

I will not, Dan. It's not just the clown suit, it's the impulse to cash in.

It sucks.

Posted by Brendan Kiley | November 5, 2008 2:35 PM
8

I saw those posters up around the hill at least a week prior to election day... if that helps.

Posted by The General | November 5, 2008 2:39 PM
9

You're just noticing these now? These have been around for at least a month.

Posted by obsrv | November 5, 2008 2:39 PM
10

Uh, it's a joke? It's parody? The kind of thing that The Stranger should understand? Seriously, don't be ridiculous. I'll go there twice as often now.

Posted by N | November 5, 2008 2:39 PM
11

is the "sincerest form of flattery = imitation" equation applicable here? i mean, granted, it's tacky, but is it necessarily insulting?

Posted by devil's advocate | November 5, 2008 2:39 PM
12

i think the clown is supposed to be from their logo. you know, the italian harlequin thingy on their signage?

still completely asinine.

Posted by brett | November 5, 2008 2:40 PM
13

good thing there's a stumptown near the stranger offices.

Posted by Rob | November 5, 2008 2:40 PM
14

You're just noticing these now? These have been around for at least a month.

Posted by obsrv | November 5, 2008 2:42 PM
15

i agree with brendan: luckily i fucking hate vita anyway. betwixt the strange and inexplicable sense of virtigo every time i walk in, the withering glare of typing lap-topsters and the inevitable acid reflux of their burnt brew, what's to love? nothing. NOVITA, '08.

Posted by adrian | November 5, 2008 2:42 PM
16

um... yeah, how dare they... um... yeah...

http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/CoverArt?oid=728038&year=2008

Posted by thickturd | November 5, 2008 2:42 PM
17

Tasteless? Yes. But I have this weird thing about going to cafes for the coffee. For politics, I go elsewhere. I don't get my coffee from Christian Sinderman or Blair Butterworth. And Cafe Vita is damn good coffee. Find your inner Obama and relax.

Posted by Lionel Hutz | November 5, 2008 2:42 PM
18

Looks like O winning hasn't made at least one uptight Seattleite ease up a bit.

Seriously, relax it may miss the mark, but it's clearly not meant as an insult.

Posted by Trouble | November 5, 2008 2:42 PM
19

i agree with brendan @ 7: luckily i fucking hate vita anyway. betwixt the strange and inexplicable sense of vertigo every time i walk in, the withering glare of typing lap-topsters and the inevitable acid reflux of their burnt brew, what's to love? nothing. NOVITA, '08.

Posted by adrian | November 5, 2008 2:43 PM
20

Didn't the stranger have a cover with a kitten done in that same style recently? I saw that online and loved it. This isn't as lovable but I don't think it's intended any differently.

Posted by jess | November 5, 2008 2:44 PM
21

You're just noticing these now? These have been around for at least a month.

Posted by obsrv | November 5, 2008 2:44 PM
22

i found the posters tasteless... what a lame ad.

Posted by yep | November 5, 2008 2:44 PM
23

I was just going to point out that we've put Obama on our cover a couple of times.

Let's let it go, Brendan.

Posted by Dan Savage | November 5, 2008 2:46 PM
24

i saw that last night, thought the same thing

ass clowns

Posted by lar | November 5, 2008 2:46 PM
25

You thought the Republican yard signs piece was all fun and games, but THIS is beyond the pale?

(Not that I had a big problem with the addresses thing, I just don't get why one and not the other.)

Posted by David | November 5, 2008 2:46 PM
26

Cafe Vita describes their mascott as "the Punchinello", who historically "represents a bit of humor, a touch of the radical, and always a wallop of important commentary about how life on our planet could be a bit more full and rich."

but you can call it a clown if you want.

Posted by cochise. | November 5, 2008 2:47 PM
27

@ 16, you took the words out of my mouth/thought out of my head.

Posted by Dcal | November 5, 2008 2:48 PM
28

wait..wasn't this what separated us liberals from knee-jerk reactionary dickhead conservatives? our sense of humor and our willingness to not take ourselves so damn seriously?

Posted by Yardlie | November 5, 2008 2:49 PM
29

I thought they were funny. I think you're over-reacting. And yes, didn't you do a similar thing w/the kitten? Why was that "okay"?

Posted by Binkyboo | November 5, 2008 2:56 PM
30

@16, haw haw!

Posted by Bellevue Ave | November 5, 2008 3:00 PM
31

Lighten up, Francis.

Posted by Sergeant Hulka | November 5, 2008 3:01 PM
32

This is different because it's not satire or homage... it's co-opting a movement for the purposes of advertising. Lame.

Posted by Vive la France! | November 5, 2008 3:02 PM
33

Meow. Love your current cover.
Echo @16, @29, @27

Posted by Ad | November 5, 2008 3:02 PM
34

Yeah, I have to agree with almost everyone else on this one: I saw this up last week and thought "Ah, Vita is aligning themselves with Obama by using their clown image in place of the Obama image". Pretty simple. I thought of it as a rallying cry, like "We're on board with this guy--VOTE!" Let's get to work helping Obama make this country a better place, not bicker amongst fellow supporters of the bigger cause. Sheesh.

Posted by caroline | November 5, 2008 3:03 PM
35

Seriously, you sound like a bitch.

Posted by Mr. Poe | November 5, 2008 3:07 PM
36

I thought you guys were starting a copycat column of Ask An Uptight Seattlite, but apparently this was serious?!

Posted by for real | November 5, 2008 3:10 PM
37

Yeah, can't believe they're the only ones doing this.

Chill the fuck out. (BTW, your cover's in row 25)

Posted by PA Native | November 5, 2008 3:12 PM
38

their street level advertising has been crossing the line for months now. during the block party they completely covered every telephone poll in the area with their posters. top to bottom. way to be a part of the community.

Posted by just ice | November 5, 2008 3:17 PM
39

I took it less as an advertisement and more as a supportive statement. Whatevs...

Kittehs! CUTE Kittehs!

Posted by Nay | November 5, 2008 3:19 PM
40

Let's get pissy over most of Andy Warhol's work as well while we are at it.

Posted by Eyes rolling | November 5, 2008 3:33 PM
41

Little girl.

Posted by stupid faggot | November 5, 2008 3:34 PM
42

ORLY?

Posted by josh | November 5, 2008 3:36 PM
43

Well, it's not as if that shit they serve is drinkable anyway.

Posted by Geni | November 5, 2008 3:39 PM
44

Dude, they're in business. Yes, I guess advertising (even whimsical, nonsense style) is mercenary. Opportunistic? Yes, they co-opted a visual style put out by a politician's campaign. Tone-deaf? That's in the ear of the beholder.

Chill out! What's with this sacred cow stuff?

I mean, thank jeebus he won, but Obama's an imperfect candidate who inherited a difficult set of intractable problems. He's going to do something to disappoint you, me, and other members of his constituency sooner rather than later. Just take a deep breath and realize that political movements, politicians, and small businesses are nothing to get worked up over.

Posted by Sean | November 5, 2008 3:41 PM
45

10 Things Businesses Needs to Do Right Now to Save Themselves

Posted by 1. fire all employees named Brendan | November 5, 2008 3:45 PM
46

There are plenty of other legit reasons to hate on vita. Like the back stabbing misogynistic owners. Pure unadulterated jackasses. The posters? ehh.

Posted by vita has other problems | November 5, 2008 3:55 PM
47

That got you all hot and bothered? Someone really needs to put on his big boy manties and get over himself. Silly boy.

Posted by Laura | November 5, 2008 3:59 PM
48

But that's how I like my coffee. Very misogynistic.

Posted by Mr. Poe | November 5, 2008 4:00 PM
49

You wanna blame someone for using celebrity to sell their product? Uh...what is the problem? The "clown" costume is from the Pagliaci inspired Vita logo. Who cares?

Listen, don't start sanctifying Obama so fast. I campaigned, caucused and voted for the man, but I'll be damned if I'm going to sit on my ass now and assume that everything is gravy because he's in the White House. Your knee-jerk Obamaphile attitude is no different than the Republican impulse to boycott, ban or otherwise stiffle anything they deem unpatriotic and un-American. Real lefties should be worrying about Obama keeping his promises. Real lefties should STILL be wary of their government and contacting their representatives with their opinions about policy, not parody advertising.

And, yes, I saw those same posters months ago. Given that fact, it should be taken as an endorsement in addition to an oppurtunistic marketing ploy.

Posted by Mike | November 5, 2008 4:04 PM
50

You wanna blame someone for using celebrity to sell their product? Uh...what is the problem? The "clown" costume is from the Pagliaci inspired Vita logo. Who cares?

Listen, don't start sanctifying Obama so fast. I campaigned, caucused and voted for the man, but I'll be damned if I'm going to sit on my ass now and assume that everything is gravy because he's in the White House. Your knee-jerk Obamaphile attitude is no different than the Republican impulse to boycott, ban or otherwise stiffle anything they deem unpatriotic and un-American. Real lefties should be worrying about Obama keeping his promises. Real lefties should STILL be wary of their government and contacting their representatives with their opinions about policy, not parody advertising.

And, yes, I saw those same posters months ago. Given that fact, it should be taken as an endorsement in addition to an oppurtunistic marketing ploy.

Posted by Mike | November 5, 2008 4:05 PM
51

I mainly don't like them 'cause:

1)I hate pretentious coffee houses...

2)...almost as much as I hate pretentious Italian restaurants with snotty attitudes and mediocre food.

Posted by michael strangeways | November 5, 2008 4:21 PM
52

hey brendan, where'd your nader post go?

Posted by i have a medium penis | November 5, 2008 4:32 PM
53

The video had already been posted. I'm bitchy and dumb.

Posted by Brendan Kiley | November 5, 2008 4:35 PM
54

But you're cute. That's all that matters.

Michael, you are SO non-conformist! Go you!

Posted by michael whogivesafuck | November 5, 2008 4:38 PM
55

Monday night, a friend and I went out at about 1 am to poster the HOPE posters that Shepherd Fairey had sent to us to ensure a victory here in Washington state (hey, it was officially a swing state at the time they sent them to us).

I saved them until Monday night so that people could wake up Tuesday morning and see them, and be like "YEAH. WE ARE GOING TO DO THIS THING!" (I based it on a "This American Life" story about a guy who spray painted frogs around his neighborhood.) My friend added the VOTE TODAY slips to help ensure no one flaked out.

It was cold and really, really rainy. Like soak-to-the-bone rainy but we saw late-night partiers who were like, Right on! So we kept going, taking a few to near the U District too.

Tuesday morning, I woke up, and Caffe Vita had papered over Shepherd's posters with their own. My heart dropped.

With gillions of blank walls all over Capitol Hill, they papered OVER his artwork with their ad. We had put them up in two places. They picked one of those specifically to paper over ours.

In order to sell coffee with Barack's image. When we have 5,000 coffee places on the hill.

Asshats.

We repapered at about 4 p.m:

http://seattlest.com/2008/11/05/seattlest_pix_08nov05.php

But they wrecked the moment, for reasons I still don't understand.

Posted by hopemonger | November 5, 2008 4:56 PM
56

@55

Shut up.

Posted by whino | November 5, 2008 5:05 PM
57


Agreed. Poor taste and judgment. Boycott for a time followed by probation.

Posted by K X One | November 5, 2008 6:19 PM
58

Absolutely. My friend has "before" pics from when we were putting it up at 2 am that he's posting to his blog.

You know, whatever. Obama won. The Supreme Court won't be filled with Alitos. In the end, it's just posters.

But it was so great when Shepherd Fairey's people gave them to us, and violating the spirit of that to sell more coffee is just...yucky.

Posted by homemonger | November 5, 2008 6:21 PM
59

OMG! Capitalism is bad!

Posted by Jeff | November 5, 2008 10:39 PM
60

To do list: Piss off advertisers in the face of own glaring hipocricy.

Posted by Vita Drinker | November 5, 2008 10:44 PM
61

Gotta say I'm with Brendan on this one. I wondered what the posters were for ...overlooking the obvious since I was standing about a block away from Cafe Vita when I saw them on election night. Knowing the full story now, I can appreciate anyone's enthusiasm for the "maverick" nature of Obama and wanting to support him and also the creative edge of advertising. Seriously though ...to cover up actual Fairey posters. On election day? That's just stupid and I can't see any justification.

I'm not saying I'll never sip a cup of Vita again or anything and I'm not going to get all up in a hissy and call The Stranger a hypocrite for having had Faireyesque images on their cover to promote their political agenda. Loads of people are indeed using the image these days. It's become a part of our culture. However, I think The Stranger's usage was a little more in the spirit of Fairey's original piece.

Posted by agreed | November 5, 2008 11:36 PM
62

Vita's got great coffee. All my friends from out of town beg for it.

Coffee.

It's coffee.

These same people from out of town see this sign and squint.

I think you, them and Vita are all crazy.

Posted by Chooms McHilo | November 6, 2008 1:58 AM
63

Why take back "jackasses"? It seems perfectly appropriate to me.

Posted by tacomagirl | November 6, 2008 7:26 AM
64

yeah, why take back calling them jackasses? it's true.

Posted by lightsout | November 6, 2008 9:24 AM
65

Dear Stranger Readers:
On behalf of Caffe Vita, I take full responsibility for this mishap and wish to apologize for wasting the precious time you have spent reading, responding and email links to this blog entry. Not because of the content of the artwork displayed, but because when Brendan came in and asked for a cup of coffee, I mistakenly poured him CAFFEINATED espresso.

Lighten up.

Seriously.


And no, I don't work for Vita.

Posted by Joe the Barista | November 6, 2008 11:03 AM
66

Ah. Similarly, they papered over the cool B&W Obama posters under the Ballard Bridge in the early days of the Dem primaries with a stupid clowny take-off. Vita, go away.

Posted by ballardin' | November 6, 2008 7:51 PM
67

The conversation about this continues over here:

http://slog.thestranger.com/2008/11/re_oh_and_a_big_wrist_slap_to_caffe_vita

Posted by hopemonger | November 6, 2008 8:04 PM

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