The Starbucks Cup: PR Nightmare or Opportunity?

By: Maddie Woodrow, Communications/Digital Strategy Committee Member

Starbucks_Red_Holiday_Cups_2015-1-1200x799In case you missed it, Starbucks introduced its new holiday cup late last month. It’s trading in some of its old designs for a sleeker, plain red look.

Doesn’t seem like a big deal, right? Well apparently it is.

People are going crazy about this news. It all started, or so it seems, with a video by Joshua Feuerstein, an evangelist who claims that Starbucks, “wants to take Christ and Christmas off of their cups.” He then went on to urge all “Americans and Christians” to basically protest Starbucks with the hashtag #MerryChristmasStarbucks. And so they did. People have been talking about this so-called “controversy” ever since.

So is this bad PR for Starbucks? I say no. Considering most people don’t care what their cups look like, and the vice president even made a statement saying the change in designs is simply to, “usher in the holidays with a purity of design that welcomes all of our stories,” they seem to be getting little backlash on this besides the extremists saying that Starbucks is anti-Christmas. All that these people are doing is bringing more attention to Starbucks and getting more people to talk about them while the cup brings in a wider audience than those who just celebrate Christmas.

Does this mean the common phrase, “all publicity is good publicity,” is true? Probably not. But in this case, there really is no bad publicity for Starbucks besides people talking about how crazy it is that other people are actually upset about this.

#MerryChristmasStarbucks, you’ll probably be the talk of the holidays this year (or at least this month).

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