Latte art smackdowns: have they jumped the shark? What could spice them up, bring them into the public eye in a new way, make them more corporate and also somehow more individual? In what may be one of the most unique brand synergy/barista-mainstreaming campaigns yet to hit US shores, AT&T announced earlier this month its Asian-American Latte Art Smackdown, pitting the top 5 Asian-American baristas from Seattle, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles (Downtown) and Los Angeles (Orange County) [?] head-to-head in an internet pour-off of tightly foamed proportions.
The winning barista will be elected by popular vote via the official AT&T Latte Art Smackdown website, where visitors to the site can view five videos of latte art shot on Samsung Galaxy S5 Active telephones.
We're huge fans of celebrating all aspects of culture and coffee culture here at Sprudge, and though we know it's a slippery slope, allow us to come right out and say it: there's something off about this contest. It's all a little problematic. We feel it's appropriate for us to call out this multinational communications company's blatant bias here…towards filming their latte videos in portrait mode???
You can vote for your favorite Asian American portrait-mode using latte artists until November 6th, or join in the #brand #conversation over on Twitter, where research for this feature clued us in to an internet robo-cabal of fake coffee personalities, all of whom are jazzed up about the contest in an eerily similar fashion:
The same bunch of bots are really fired up about chocolate chip scones and Starbucks K-cups.
All images and logos property of AT&T.