USA TODAY markets reporter Matt Krantz answers a different reader question every weekday. To submit a question, e-mail Matt at email@example.com.
Q: Will "Dumb Starbucks" hurt Starbucks' stock?
A: Companies frequently endure parodies and lampoons of their brands. But after lighting up the Internet the first day or two, few of these embarrassments have much lasting effect.
In early February, a clever and elaborate stunt in Los Angeles created a coffeehouse branded Dumb Starbucks.
It turns out it was a publicity effort by comedian Nathan Fielder on Comedy Central. The faux café was shut down on Feb. 10 by the health department.
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Starbucks responded with a smile, admitting to the humor but saying it would work with the company to protect its trademark. Shares are down about 2% since the Dumb Starbucks incident started. If a parody is fairly good natured, though, it can be a way to underscore how strong a brand is. These situations, too, can be a chance for companies to show how well they're able to handle a potential negative situation.
These situations can turn into more of an issue, especially when they're less about laughs, but more about making a point. Shares of SeaWorld Entertainment started to drown in 2013 after the release of the Black Fish documentary, criticizing the company's treatment of animals. SeaWorld has defended its animal rights policies.
And Abercrobmie & Fitch's struggled after an L.A. filmmaker went viral giving the companies' clothes to homeless people. These situations, though, tends to be fast forgotten as long as the companies can continue posting revenue and profit growth.