news - red cup contro
Starbucks Famous Red Holiday Cup Stirs Controversy

by Alexis Black

Every year, during the holiday season, Starbucks introduces its famous red holiday cup. It’s a dark red cup with a variety of holiday designs and the normal logo. This seemingly small change in cups is so popular and anticipated that there are countdown clocks dedicated to it and  more impressively according to Starbucks “within the first 48 hours of red Starbucks cups launching last year, a photo of a Starbucks holiday cup was shared on Instagram every 14 seconds.”

This year the holiday cup changed. We got a fresh new design featuring a solid red cup with the normal logo. Starbucks.com says according to Starbucks vice president of design and content, Jeffery Fields, “This year we wanted to usher in the holidays with a purity of design that welcomes all of our stories.”

Not everybody was happy. Starbucks was quickly bashed on social media by some claiming they were trying to be overly politically correct and were aiming to destroy Christmas. To some people, this is even trying to go against the Christian faith.

Senior Smruti Hariprakasha says, “I don’t care about it [the controversy]. As long as the drinks stay the same there’s no point in creating a controversy out of it.”

Sophomore Jalyn Jones says, “I don’t even care. They can do whatever they want –it’s their business.”

Senior Sarah Tau says, “I mean I think it’s fine. There’s a lot more things to worry about right now and this isn’t that important.”

Senior Dylan Dall says, “I don’t see the difference it makes. I don’t care honestly; it’s just another cup.”

Of course the billion dollar company didn’t exactly get hurt in any way financially by the situation, and if anything it helped. All PR (especially free PR)  is good PR right? Especially with people like Ellen DeGeneres, Trevor Noah, and Stephen Colbert chiming in on the issue. There’s even a thing going on where the people mad about the designs being removed from the cup are going to Starbucks, buying coffee, and telling the barista to write Merry Christmas on the cup as their name.

This controversy is also showing the immense power of social media. For a business, understanding the power of social media in this day and age is crucial. While it is impossible to really predict which campaigns will go viral, like the red cup, it should be pretty clear and well planned. This will determine the value of your brand which determines the success of your company.