Starbucks Red Cups: One Person’s Cup Is Another’s Cry For Publicity

Who knew that Starbucks red cups could create such a stir?

Donald Trump suggested that people should boycott the Starbucks red cups. Some Christian groups suggested that Starbucks is declaring a war on Christmas by offering the simple red cups instead of the festively ornamented ones of years past. Others have suggested that the Starbucks red cups are just that — red cups for your coffee.

By Mason Wendell from USA (Reverand Billy / What Would Jesus Buy) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The Starbucks red cups have definitely generated a lot of discussion, both for the company and for media at large. Words like “outcry” and “controversy” have peppered headlines for both CNBC and CTV News and are percolating across social media as well.

According to CNN Money, the Starbucks red cups are meant for “customers to tell their Christmas stories in their own way.” Previous years saw the Starbucks red cups being festively designed, but Starbucks opted for a more simplistic style this year, thereby allowing customers to do what they will with the Starbucks red cups.

Joshua Feuerstein, who brands himself as a social media personality, is a former pastor who took exception to the Starbucks red cups. In response, he has encouraged people to give baristas their names as “Merry Christmas” and has started using the hashtag #MerryChristmasStarbucks. He has deemed that the Starbucks red cups are a message that Starbucks “hates Jesus” because there is no sign of Christmas ornamentation on the cups.

However, there are those who believe the Starbucks red cups controversy has garnered far more attention than it really deserves. On social media, opinions about the Starbucks red cups seemed relatively divided.

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Actor/director Candace Cameron-Bure, who has made no secret of her devout Christianity, took to Facebook to give a reality check of her own, saying via her Facebook page that “I don’t remember Starbucks ever being a Christian company, do you?” and reminding people that the hot topic of discussion was a red cup. She said that if Starbucks was to put the Nativity on their red cups and then pull the imagery because it was deemed too offensive, then people could come out and complain.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump also weighed in on the Starbucks red cups controversy, according to CNBC.

Trump said that the coffee giant was a tenant at Trump Tower in Manhattan and said, “Maybe we should boycott Starbucks. I don’t know. Seriously. I don’t care. By the way: That’s the end of that lease. But who cares? Who cares? Who cares?”

(Image by Von Clinton, via Flickr)

The Starbucks red cups controversy has led to the company issuing a statement that the stark design was inspired by the plentiful doodles that people have put on the Starbucks white cups over the years. Jeffrey Fields, Starbucks vice president of Design and Content, said that the goal was to make the cups a welcome canvas for those wanting to tell their holiday tale.

“In the past, we have told stories with our holiday cups designs,” he said via a statement. “This year we wanted to usher in the holidays with a purity of design that welcomes all of our stories.”

It would seem that people simply do not embrace change as readily as some marketing personnel would like, however. Marketing consultant Laura Ries said that sometimes a huge departure from what is traditionally expected makes people nervous.

“Over the years, they had some whimsical holiday designs, and that’s what people got accustomed to seeing,” she said. “They chose a modernistic, blank, stark look to the cup that was such a departure it got people anxious.”

In spite of the unexpected publicity that this move has generated for Starbucks, Donald Trump, and even Candace Cameron-Bure, there are those who simply do not care and only want their shot of caffeine from one of their favorite coffeehouses.

According to CTV News, customer Lara Reynolds did not care much about the Starbucks red cups. She said she only wanted to enjoy her coffee.

“It’s ridiculous. I’ve been trying to ignore it,” she said as she dismissed the Starbucks red cups controversy with a wave.

[Image via KSAT12]