Starbucks Receives Venti-Sized Backlash Over Red Cups

November 9th, 2015

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For those of you who love lattes enriched with syrupy peppermint mocha flavoring (because, let’s be real, that’s exactly what we’re drinking), your favorite time of year is back again: Starbucks red cup season!

If you’ve already ordered your first grandehalfcaffskinnypeppermintmochalattewithnofoam of the season, you probably noticed that the cups look a little bit different this year. Unlike red cups of winters past, which were adorned with Christmas trees and reindeer, this year’s cups are a simple, solid red.

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Starbucks’ reasoning? According to the company’s VP, Jeffrey Fields, the company wanted the cup “to create a culture of belonging, inclusion and diversity,” acting as a sort of “blank canvas” on which customers can “tell their Christmas stories in their own way.”

According to Starbucks, the new campaign is simply intended to be more inclusive, allowing customers the opportunity to create their own stories and interpretations of the cups. Makes sense, right? It might, especially from a marketing perspective. In addition to providing what might be a more personalized experience for each customer, the simplification of a brand’s marketing visuals and materials is often the norm as a brand continues to evolve. Just look at how Starbucks’ logo has evolved over the years!

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Unfortunately for Starbucks, some of their consumers disagree, arguing that the new, simpler red cup is a statement against Christmas. In fact, many argue that Starbucks is waging a “war on Christmas,” finally giving reporters the chance to use titles like “Starbucks holiday red cup brews up controversy”–great. Some customers have even taken to social media to share pictures of their red cups, in which they claim to have “tricked” Starbucks baristas into writing Merry Christmas in place of their names.

Starbucks isn’t the only company receiving criticism so early in the season, however, as Charlotte’s very own South Park Mall has been sparking controversy over a recent Christmas display of their own. Read more about that here.

But we want to hear from you. Do you agree with Starbucks’ decision to create a “blank canvas” for their customers, or do you think this is simply an attempt to be politically correct? Tweet your thoughts to us @cgrcreative!