Brewing up Controversy over Starbucks Red Holiday Cup


Article by Nikki Childers | esPResso Staff Writer

Last week, media outlets nationwide spotlighted the release of Starbucks annual holiday cup, simply due to its two- toned red entirety. Normally an inanimate object does not receive so much attention, but it was the lack of festive decoration on the cup that got opinions spewing.

Social media exploded with users weighing in on both sides of the issue. On November 5, Joshua Feuerstein, a former pastor who calls himself a “social media personality,” posted a video to Facebook that went viral. Feuerstein criticizes Starbucks for removing “Christmas from their cups because they hate Jesus.”

Even political candidates hopped onto the controversial bandwagon. According to CNN, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump issued a statement during a recent campaign speech saying, “maybe we should boycott Starbucks.”

Critics of the cup’s design are saying there is a “war on Christmas”. Although Starbucks has never confirmed that their past holiday designs of, reindeer and snowmen were direct symbols to represent Christmas.

In a defense to all the negative publicity, Starbucks Vice President, Jeffrey Fields, issued a statement saying, “the company wanted to usher in the holidays with a purity of design that welcomes all of our stories.”

Starbucks is a highly recognizable company worldwide, and carries an immense amount of brand power. Which reflects on the reputation of the company. Often times it’s the negative news stories that get picked up by the media, and is the image that sticks with most people. However, not everyone agrees that the cup’s design is controversial.

Those who did not find the minimalist design to be offense, kept the conversation going on Twitter, with the creation of the hashtag, #ItsJustACup. According to the social media analytics and tracking tool, “Topsy” the hashtag has been used over 4,400 since the controversy begin.

Although there has been a great deal of negativity surrounding the release of Starbucks new cup, what needs to be recognized is the amount of publicity the company received over their product.  Even with all the negative backlash revolving around the company, one silver lining is that Starbucks gained a lot of free publicity. So they must be doing something right.

Photo credited by Elvert Barnes.

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