November 9, 2015
Controversial Cups? Starbucks Holiday Red Cups Create Uproar

Controversial cups? Who knew that so much anger could be caused by a simple red cup! Starbucks began the 2015 holiday season with the unveiling of their new holiday cup meant to bring cheer. Instead, the simple red cup with green logo has stirred up jeers. Fox News reported the reason for the anger over the red cups is what is missing.

Every year Starbucks unveils a red cup with a centerpiece of their green logo. In years past, red on red snowflakes, ornaments, and graphics appeared as part of the red cup design. Instead of adorning the cups with artsy cheer, Starbucks decided that the 2015 two-tone red design would be a simple ombre' shading from a darker cranberry on the cup's bottom into a bright poppy color at the top.

[Image courtesy of Starbucks]
[Image courtesy of Starbucks]How did a simple red color create controversial cups? On November 1, Starbucks posted a welcome back to their seasonal red cups on social media. The red Starbucks cups have become a familiar welcome to the winter holiday season for the coffee brand's aficionados. This year the new simple plain red cup design has brought cold anger and debates instead of holiday warmth.

On Facebook, Starbucks welcomed the 2015 cup simply by showcasing a hand holding the red cup with the familiar green logo and a "Welcome back, red cups!"

https://www.facebook.com/Starbucks/photos/a.152298483056.110092.22092443056/10153674592503057/

With the plain design came controversial remarks on social media. Joshua Feuerstein, the evangelist that uses social media to spread his thoughts, posted a video rant on Facebook. The video posted by Feuerstein is captioned, "Starbucks REMOVED CHRISTMAS from their cups because they hate Jesus."

The controversial cups created over 447,000 shares and more than 153,700 likes of Feuerstein's video, along with many comments. Joshua believes that Starbucks is supposedly removing Christmas from their cups, angrily detailing in response, "SO I PRANKED THEM... and they HATE IT!!!!" urging others to pass on the anger stating, "#share and use #MERRYCHRISTMASSTARBUCKS."

In an email to CNNMoney, Feuerstein boasted that his video garnered more than 10 million views. Joshua wrote "I think Starbucks has gotten the message that the Christian majority in this country has awakened and are demanding that our voice be heard."

Viewing the controversial video, Feuerstein rants how Starbucks wanted to take Christ and Christmas off of their cups simply by using the plain red color. He then states how Starbucks is not allowed to greet customers with merry Christmas. Joshua's movement has seemed to backfire on him, as most comments viewed are in favor of Starbucks and questioning the remarks of the enraged evangelist.

https://www.facebook.com/krisrollins/posts/10153397980432917

Did Starbucks believe their 2015 holiday tribute would turn into controversial cups? Jeffrey Fields, Starbucks vice president of Design & Content, noted on the Starbucks website, "In the past, we have told stories with our holiday cups designs. This year we wanted to usher in the holidays with a purity of design that welcomes all of our stories."

Starbucks 2013 holiday red cup. [Image courtesy of Starbucks]
2013 Starbucks holiday red cup. [Image courtesy of Starbucks]Perhaps the best response to any controversy involving Starbucks and Christmas, is a short video on Vine by Dschwen LLC. Tweeted by Starbucks, the video states simply, "All you need is love. Oh, and Starbucks #RedCups."
"Starbucks has become a place of sanctuary during the holidays," Fields states. He continues, "We're embracing the simplicity and the quietness of it. It's more open way to usher in the holiday."

The Starbucks' red cups have been part of seasonal cheer since 1997. They have featured an assortment of unique designs. Although the first year showcased jazz themed cups in multiple colors, the holiday cups have morphed into simpler designs using red on red art. Should not the holidays be a time to represent unity and not be about controversial cups?

[Image courtesy of Starbucks]