There are lots of little reminders in the days after Halloween that remind us that this semester is almost over and Christmas is coming. I speak for every coffee drinking student when I say I am always thankful when I see the iconic Starbucks cups turning red. But why is it always red?
Something different happened this year. On November 1st, just one day after Halloween, Starbucks introduced the green cup in the United States. It featured a “mosaic of more than a hundred people drawn in one continuous stroke.” The company explained that it represented community and unity in a time of extreme political divisiveness (Santos, 2016). Initially, people thought that the traditional red holiday Starbucks cup was threatened and wouldn’t be returning this year. Huge backlash sparked from this green cup and people began stormed social media with their thoughts on this green cup. Many targeted the green cup as a technique of political brainwashing.
The fact is though is that the green cup was not the holiday cup and to people’s satisfaction, the red cup was revealed. People have always found a way to criticize and comment on how Starbucks designs their holiday cups. They brand themselves with the iconic white cup and siren logo. However, Starbucks doesn’t “identify itself as a Christian company, [and] has never put the words ‘Merry Christmas’ on its holiday cups” (Santos, 2006). The video posted below shows that Starbucks recognizes and embraces how people will always have something to say about their iconic red holiday cups. It is recognized that “Starbucks is typically a touchstone for consistency, a beacon of predictability we can take comfort in while the chaotic world around us threaten to swallow us whole” (Santos, 2016).
Last Christmas, the cup was stripped to simply just a beautiful two-tone red. This ignited conversations because people believed it was a “sign of the unbearable tyranny of political correctness” (Beltrone, 2016). This year, the concerns and comments have been heard and Starbucks has come up with a middle ground solution. The cups this year feature the drawings Starbucks consumers drew on the 2015 holiday cup. You can also buy ceramic to-go cups that you can doodle your own creations on.
“This year’s versions included the aforementioned snowflakes, and reindeer, as well as images like evergreen trees, Christmas lights, and Christmas tree ornaments. Other cups feature more neutral patterns” (Beltrone, 2016). Basically, there is a cup for everyone this year and people should be excited about viewing others creations. “Starbucks wants consumers to know it’s heard their deep concerns about its Christmas cups and has worked hard to rectify the situation” (Beltrone, 2016)
Starbucks has been extremely successful in marketing their holiday drinks by using their signature red cups. This is proven by the amount of uproar this year from the green cup. It still shocks me how people can have so much to say about a cup and I could not agree more with what Ellen had to say last year about this ongoing controversy.
-Samantha Watson Penner
Beltrone, G. (2016). Starbucks’ red Christmas cups for 2016 probably won’t offend anybody (probably). Retrieved from http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/starbucks-red-christmas-cups-2016-probably-wont-offend-anybody-probably-174604
Santos, A.A. (2016). Starbucks’s green cup controversy explained: For some, the war on Christmas is already here. Retrieved from http://www.vox.com/culture/2016/11/2/13497068/starbucks-green-cup-controversy-explained