On PaRis and red cuPs at StaRbucks

It often takes tragedy to put life’s challenges in perspective. The horrific acts of terror in Paris this week are no exception. My wife’s family lives in Paris; in fact, one set of cousins resides just blocks away from where some of the murders took place. We were relieved to hear they’re all OK–grieving, but safe. How seemingly appropriate that this week’s Public Relations Nation features a guest post from one of my students, Aislinn Murphy, who writes about the recent Starbucks controversy over the design–or lack thereof–of its holiday cups. How silly it seems that some are so concerned that there are no longer snowflakes and snowmen on their coffee cups. Life is too short and uncertain to be protesting about such trivial nonsense, and I’m glad Starbucks is sticking to its plan by not succumbing to those who believe the red cups are an assault on Christmas. Please read Aislinn’s post and share your thoughts. — Jeff Morosoff



This month, Starbucks released its seasonal red cup. While its “regular” cups all feature the siren logo along with the drink specifications boxes, the winter seasonal cups tend to change up a bit and, within the past five years, have included snowflakes and snowmen, carolers, snow covered trees, a nutcracker, and even gold ornaments. What these cups all have in common is their simple red background. This year’s cup is just red.

To be clear, Starbucks has not been advertising these cups as “Christmas” cups or even Christmas themed. However, the company does sell “Christmas Blend” coffee and it has been featured on shelves for years; at least it has been for the three and a half years this writer has worked there and in the year since leaving.



Starbucks’ comment on all of this? “In the past, we have told stories with our holiday cups designs,” said Jeffrey Fields, Starbucks’ vice president of design and content. “This year we wanted to usher in the holidays with a purity of design that welcomes all of our stories.”

It is these stories and the images patrons have been doodling on their cups that Starbucks has taken note of recently, and has embraced in their cup choices whether paper or reusable.

Starbucks is an organization that works hard to maintain its positive image including reliable branding and product quality and participate in various corporate social responsibility initiatives. So what does this cup controversy mean for its public relations? Probably nothing major. Starbucks released a statement, not apologizing, just simply and clearly explaining their design choice, which aligns with other design initiatives it has implemented in the past. Starbucks’ holiday cups do not normally become a trending topic and do not normally gain this much attention. However, maybe in this case, any publicity is good publicity.

Honestly, I am not going to stop drinking coffee and am certainly not going to stop purchasing my coffee from Starbucks. With all that in mind, what do you think of the company’s recent publicity and will you stop purchasing Starbucks products? Your thoughts?

Aislinn Murphy

Aislinn Murphy

Aislinn is a  public relations graduate student at the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication at Hofstra University. When she isn’t in class, she is working with the Hofstra University Writing Center, doing PR for Her Campus, and working at the Hofstra University Center for Academic Excellence. Her interests range from Harry Potter and chilling on the beach to gender equality and writing pedagogy.

twitter: @MurphOnAMission

website: murphonanadventure.weebly.com

56 thoughts on “On PaRis and red cuPs at StaRbucks

  1. premierorion

    It is ridiculous that people can complain about something as minuscule as the cups at Starbucks. If the coffee is the same quality why should people care about the container it is served in? People will continue to complain about something that makes no difference, while at the same time ignoring serious issues we face in society because it is something they don’t want to deal with.

  2. Awoolman13

    Everyone is always going to be mad at something, even if it something as ridiculous as this. Even if this played the other way, and Starbucks decided to heavily decorate their cups with clear Christmas designs there would be total outrage that they are using Christmas as a capitalist advantage. You can never win.

  3. Bianca Kroening

    I’m not even going to comment on the Starbucks cup–it’s been talked about enough. What does concern me know is the bigger picture here, and it ties in with the recent controversy over Simon Malls’ redesigning of their Christmas display, and the removal of Christmas decorations from Public Schools. People are concerned that America has become “too secular” and that Christmas and Christianity is dying, meanwhile it wasn’t decorations, cups, or decorated trees that made Christmas in the first place. I can guarantee you that most of those people complaining about the aesthetics of Christmas weren’t partaking in the traditions that are supposed to make Christmas what it is–giving to charity, volunteering time, and expressing goodwill toward all people–that’s the reason for this season.

  4. Martin Bradshaw

    I think Starbucks handled the situation very well. The whole controversy is, in my opinion, a large-scale overreaction. The company has done nothing wrong and I am glad that they acknowledged the public reaction to their red cups without apologizing. It shows that they care about what their customers think without bending to their every whim and fancy.

  5. Rachel Tyler

    I understand when it comes to the holidays people become very defensive over their faith but the amount of coverage the Starbucks cup received is ridiculously. It was a bunch of people complaining about a companies design. There are more important things to be worrying about and receiving news coverage. I honestly think this coverage was very petty on those who complained about Starbucks.

  6. laurabellini

    The debate of the Starbucks cup is one of people with too much time on their hands. “Starbucks Cups” are not responsible with keeping the sanctity of a holiday. Also, snowflakes have been depicted on cups for the past few years, and snowflakes are not symbols of Christmas. People should keep in mind that there are a lot more pressing issues going on in the world, and the Starbucks cup is the least of them.

  7. jzagorski22

    We have become a nation of pansies. It is honestly so disgustingly pathetic and I truly fear for the future of this country. It is a disposable cup…… That you eventually throw out… if you are worried about a stupid design on a cup that you are going to throw out anyways then I suggest you see someone for a psychological evaluation. There are much much much more important things in life than the difference of a Starbucks cup red with snowflakes or a Starbucks cup red without snowflakes… Like the difference of going to sleep with a loved one and going to sleep without a loved one like many did this past horrifying Friday the 13th. I’m a coffee lover as well, and I’d pick Starbucks over Dunkin’ any day. So no.. I will not stop purchasing Starbucks because of a stupid cup that honestly… I never even noticed.

  8. Forrest Gitlin

    I think that Starbucks is handling this (non)issue the way they should. Their cups have never had anything on them specifically referencing the religious message of Christmas and the company has made no indication that they wish to dampen the holiday spirit in their stores. Therefore, I think this debacle came about as a perfect storm from a slow news day and political candidates who had nothing else to gripe about.
    In most instances where there has been such a backlash about such a minor change I would support the company reevaluation their decisions. However, in this instance I believe that the people who are complaining about Starbucks’ change would either never have purchased their coffee, or will purchase it anyways. I don’t think the red cups are actually going to impact their business.

  9. lpardee1

    I am personally frustrated with our societies sensitivity towards issues that are not important. I know this seems harsh but who cares what kind of cup we drink our overpriced coffee in. Starbucks is still going to have christmas inspired food, drinks and decor so what does it matter that they are not putting christmas elements on the cups. Instead of people complaining and not doing anything about this issue why don’t we put our energy elsewhere because it is pretty obvious our world could use some help.

  10. Erin Schmitt

    The Paris attacks truly hit home and strike a chord with all of us in how horrifying it is to think that we can be going about our everyday lives and then it can be so quickly cut short. My sister and her boyfriend were due to fly to Paris the following day on Saturday and spend a few days there, but they cancelled their entire trip and I am very grateful that she wasn’t there. I stayed in Republique when I visited Paris and both the cafe and the theater are a block or two from the hotel in which I stayed. It is very frightening to think of how easily this could have been people we know or any of us, as the victims of these horrific acts were going about their normal nights and enjoying life while completely unsuspecting of the atrocities that would unfold.

    Hopefully these attacks put into perspective how nonsensical it is for people to draw up controversies out of such minuscule things. I found the whole debate over the Starbucks cups to be ridiculous while it was first making the rounds, but in light on Friday’s events it is even more baffling to think that this is what people spend there time and energy so deeply invested in rather than the major problems facing our world. I think it is good that Starbucks hasn’t changed its opinion or messaging regarding the cups, and I don’t think they will be so affected too greatly by it.

  11. cdano1

    It is sad and scary to think that some people are more concerned with the Starbuck’s controversy than the tragic shootings in Paris this past week. I am glad Starbucks issued an apology and tried to end the drama over their red cups, but I think the apology was unnecessary. People have much more important things to worry about – and whether or not there are snowflakes on my drink cup is the last thing that would upset me.

  12. lourdesjc

    It’s a shame that tragedy like the horrific attacks on Paris makes us realize how ridiculous it is to be fussing over the design of coffee cups or Santa’s set in a mall. Of course these practices tend to spark debate, but it’s nonsense to think of this as real concerning news. Meanwhile, over a hundred of innocent lives were taken away in events that only hit one city, one nation, but an entire global community. These are the matters that should really motivate us to communicate and work together to overcome those who wish to see the world in danger.

  13. kgorsky1

    With all that is going on in the world now, the fact that the country is outraged by a plain red coffee cup is upsetting. I personally see no issue with the new cups and actually really like the simple design. They are sleek and modern, and have no affiliation with any specific religions or holidays, which should eliminate controversy altogether. Unfortunately, no matter what Starbucks chooses as their design for the season, there will always be someone who finds something wrong or offensive in it.

  14. khamme1

    I found the entire Starbucks red cup situation that people referred to as a “crisis” absolutely ridiculous. It’s crazy to me that people got so upset over a cup that no longer had a snowflake or snowman on it. There are so many important events and terrible real world issues occurring throughout the world, but there are people that focus on something so minimal. It’s sad to me. I believe that Starbucks did a good move with making the cups more holiday oriented than Christmas oriented. I’m also happy that they are not going back on their design and keeping the red cup for the season. America is filled with very different holidays, and we should recognize all of them. I agree with Aislinn that I will still purchase from Starbucks even though there are no longer snowflakes on it; a cup is a cup. I believe that people need to stop getting so worked up over things that do not really matter, and focus on real world issues. Only then will we be able to help each and every person.

  15. Nicole Garcia

    Though I do believe the cups aren’t as esthetically pleasing as other Starbucks seasonal cups, should there be public outrage? Absolutely not. Even more, there shouldn’t be petitions trying to change this.

    I would argue, as anyone else with a functioning brain would, that perhaps those vehemently opposing this year’s Starbucks cups should channel that energy into tackling more serious issues such as refugee crises, human trafficking, racial discrimination, and the list goes on.

    After all, Starbucks’ efforts to be more socially inclusive should be applauded not backlashed.

  16. Sara Fox

    Professor Morosoff- so glad to hear your wife’s family is ok!

    In regards to this Starbucks issue, I am sick of hearing about it! But I have to admit, even I am guilty of having this discussion, as much as I hate myself for it. Starbucks changing their cups should not have gotten the amount of publicity that it did. There are much bigger issues in the world. And as we mentioned in class, Starbucks will continue to decorate for Christmas and even sell Gingerbread Lattes and other Christmas inspired drinks, so I don’t understand why they are being accused of “waging a war on Christmas”. We all need to stop being so sensitive about trivial matters and focus on the real problems that surround us.

  17. Rebecca Haines

    In my opinion, this should not have even been an issue in the first place. It is very silly and almost stupid that people are worried about a cup they drink their coffee out of when there are real world problems going on. People tend to focus on things that really do not affect them in any way instead of focusing on issues that will have an impact. I do not think Starbucks’ sales will go down because their loyal customers drink their coffee because they like it, not because of the cup it comes in. I will definitely not stop purchasing Starbucks because in the end, they will put whatever design on their cups that they want. It will not change the taste of the coffee.

  18. Victor Alicea

    The buzz on Starbuck’s red cup is the furthest thing from a PR crisis. If an “attack on Christmas” is what these naysayers are worried about, they should re-evaluate their priorities. It is actually inconsiderate of these people to put their religion on a pedestal as if Chrisitanity i the only religion in the world. Starbucks is just trying to make all customers happy. It would be one thing if only a certain denomination was represented, but no denomination was really represented. With all these terrible events happening in the world this weekend, I could only hope that we put all this nonsense aside and truly support all who are going through an unfortunate crisis whether it’s Paris, Mexico, Japan, etc. It would be unfortunate to live in a society where a red cup holds more weight in the media than the lives of thousands.

  19. S. Shakola

    All in all, it is such a petty thing to worry about what Starbucks places on their cups. In light of recent tragedies in the world, it seems almost ridiculous that this is even a problem. I am happy to hear that Starbucks did not apologize as they did not do anything wrong, nor did they ever claim that these were a representation of Christmas. People seem to just complain about anything, even what type of cup they are drinking their coffee out of.

    Good Job Ailinn 🙂

  20. vciavarella24

    This is honestly all so silly to me that people are complaining about a cup design when there are more important and serious things going on in our world. I personally will still be buying Starbucks products and I don’t really think sales are going to decline, after all, our Starbucks cups go straight into the garbage when we are finished with them right? It is crazy that even celebrities like Demi Lovato are tweeting about the subject. She tweeted “Why do we care this much about a cup….??” with laughing emoji faces after. I agree with her.

  21. hallieabish

    I do not understand why people are so upset over Starbucks cups. There is no reason for Starbucks to apologize, because they came out with a new cup like they do every holiday season. The only reason for an apology would be if they actually did something wrong or offensive. Red is the color of the season. They created an ombre red cup. Yes it lacked whimsical figures like they’ve had in years past, but it is just a simple cup. In my opinion, there is no reason for people to be upset. I will continue to drink Starbucks coffee like I always do.

  22. Maddi Roman

    The world is far too concerned with being politically correct. People waste valuable time complaining and finding things to be offended by. The cup is simply a cup. Starbucks can do what they please and what they see fit. However, it is a bit ridiculous. Starbucks cups were fine before. It is definitely not something to get so worked up about and to be blown out of proportion, though. There are much more valuable things to worry about.

  23. Dan Hanson

    To be totally honest, I can’t stand when people get aggravated over stupid, little things like the Starbucks saga. I honestly believe that people look for excuses to get offended and will do anything to gain sympathy. People pretend to act so enraged over incidents but they also don’t do anything about them. My PSC001 professor likes to call it slacktivism. Then, when you compare it to events like the tragic catastrophe in Paris, stupidity like the Starbucks “issue” goes to waste. It makes you really take a look at life and makes you realize that you shouldn’t take it for granted.

  24. capriceoliver

    With all the tragedy taking place all over the world, I can’t even spend time thinking about Starbuck’s cup design. Americans seem to spend critical thinking time on the most irrelevant things. I’m sure real supporters of Starbuck’s won’t care either way, and will continue to partronize them!

  25. Cass Lang

    With all that is going on in the world, it’s extremely ridiculous how much attention the media and the internet/world have focused on this Red Cup scandal. Yet it makes (some) sense to me. The “Red Cup Scandal” is easy. It’s nonsensical in a seemingly innocent way. Starbucks clearly did nothing morally wrong and most of the response towards the company has been positive. This “scandal” provided something for the public to focus on that isn’t morally wrong, impossibly frustrating or completely devastating.

  26. Daphne Kotridis

    I still don’t fully understand what people are complaining about in terms of the Starbucks cups, and frankly, I don’t care. All I know is that we haven’t even gotten through Thanksgiving yet, it is still Fall, and Starbucks is already selling snowman cookies and Advent calendars. Can we please save Christmas for December and show a little love for Thanksgiving? More importantly, the tragedies that occurred this weekend not just in Paris but all over the world need to be the biggest concern of this country, because we are next and it is naive to think we aren’t. While President Obama has made a significant impact on the social injustices that exist in the United States, it is time to focus on the immediate danger that threatens us instead of wasting time on issues that won’t kill us.

  27. Nikita Hakels

    It is so surprising to actually see people talking about Starbucks and the red cups, when on the other hand people’s lives are in danger. I dont think Starbucks red cups are a big of a deal, well at the end of the day they are red in color, and red is a color of christmas even if their cups are plain without any symbols people should be fine with it, atleast they are being a part of the holiday season. Anyway this controversy is ridiculous and shouldnt even given so much notice, But at the end i would like to say that my deeoest sympathies are with Paris, it could have been anyone. May God give them patience.

  28. syanok

    I personally do not know anyone who is offended by the lack of Christmas decorations on the Starbucks cups. I understand if maybe there are individuals who were disappointed, but this is not a life changing event or attack on Christmas, and therefore should not be treated as such. It seems to me this was a tactic used by Starbucks to come across as more inclusive and to send out a message to their customers that they are included in their holiday advertisements too. With so many tragedies and attacks on innocent lives taking place in the world, something as trivial as this shouldn’t even be acknowledged. Let’s put our energy into discussing issues that matter and finding solutions for them. #PrayForParis #PrayForTheWorld

  29. Emily DiLaura

    Personally, I don’t drink a lot of coffee. I’m a tea person and I’m picky about natural flavors and mild taste instead of the in your face flavors Starbucks offers. I can say, however, that I love Starbucks. Not their coffee, but their company. Starbucks is a company with a great face, a great reputation, and unbelievable CSR. It’s one of the few companies you always seeing giving back and trying to make things better.
    Now, personally I am Buddhist and I’m not looking to offend anyone but I find this whole boycott Starbucks for Christmas thing just a way for people to complain. After all, everyone loves to complain. The company’s have in fact never been christmas themed, just more or less winter themed with a token winter color – red. Whether or not you want to refer to that as Christmas theme is up to you. Considering, as you said, they have a Christmas blend coffee, I think people are just seeing that and assuming the Starbucks is a pro-christmas, catholic, organization.
    At the end of the day, Starbucks is a company looking to make a profit and they will therefore try to cater to everyone’s needs in the most politically correct way. With a simpler approach to their overall look, the cups were no surprise to me. If you want santa on you cup, draw it in yourself. You have a perfect red canvas to start.

  30. Lysa Carre

    I think the controversy over a Starbucks red cup is absolutely ridiculous and uncalled for. I personally do not think there is anything wrong with having a standard plain red cup with no symbols on it besides the company logo. I actually think it’s better to be mutual by not having any religious affiliated symbols on the cup, yet still be festive by making it red for the holiday season. Perhaps there are people who do not believe in Christianity and took offense to the symbols that could be affiliated with that religion.
    In addition, perhaps other religions felt excluded since their religious affiliated symbols were not on the cups also in past years. I have seen this controversy frequently appear on my Facebook news-feed, and cannot believe people would not buy Starbucks due to its plain red cups. Those who are so upset about this matter should find more significant issues to be concerned with such as the ISIS attack that occurred in France this past week. I think that is much more worthy of our attention and energy.

  31. jhlabella

    To be honest I think the red cup controversy is ridiculous and a sign of people that have too much time of their hands. I can not fathom how someone can be so offended by a red cup? Maybe it’s just because I am not personally. Whatever the reason may be, there are many Christmas traditions that have been fading over the past couple of years, they didn’t even want to put santa in the mall this season. I feel that it is important to recognize all traditions around the holidays however making this big a deal over a red cup…completely unnecessary.

  32. audrathorsen

    Personally, I think people have way too much time on their hands if they are willing to spend a portion of their day complaining about a coffee cup’s design. Yes, in the past the designs on the cups had more of a christmasy design to it, but the christmas themed everything (not just coffee cups) have slowly dwindled down over the years anyways. Society is slowly trying to include all holidays not just the most “popular”. Society needs to accept that not everything is about them and their wants and needs. Things change.

  33. Kylie Todd

    To be honest, when first hearing about the Starbucks controversy I thought people were kidding. I’m not much of a Starbucks drinker in the first place – on campus being the only time I do get Starbucks – but can’t believe the comments coming out of people’s mouths! And I can’t believe people are actually believing them. As I’m sure many have commented, there are much bigger issues to be talking about and I will be reading about that as I sit back and enjoy a Starbucks coffee.

  34. Marc Roessle

    I am surprised that Starbucks is getting the amount of publicity that they are getting. I feel that having a whole red cup is not and should not be a top story in the news. Starbucks is a company that cares about and works hard to maintain its image. There is a lot of bigger things happening in the world than Starbucks coffee cups

  35. jennsmulo

    Almost a year ago today I was in Paris, under the Eiffel Tower, and exploring the areas that were devastated by these terrorist attacks. One of my best friends from abroad is from the area and lost friends in the attack as well. When I talked to my parents on the phone this weekend my dad, the guy too cool for emotions, was obviously choked up by the attacks and disturbed. A friend I had gone to elementary school with in California had been there and had been killed as well. It just as easily could have been his daughter, me. To think that people are so worried about what is on a cup, something so stupid and trivial and first world, when there are bombings and shootings every day is absolutely disgusting. If we, the people of this world, spent a fraction of the time worrying about real problems instead of what the Kardashian Klan is up to and what’s on a Starbucks cup or how the Roosevelt Field Mall choose to decorate for Christmas, we could make a real change. The fact that we don’t is such a disappointment.

  36. jheiden1

    Since day one, I’ve been completely enraged by the majority response over this cup. First of all, it’s a cup. Are we really going to declare a war on Christmas and Christianity over a little, red cup? What ticks me off most though, is that these people feel their wants are the only wants that matter. Starbucks isn’t trying to destroy Christian values. It’s trying to include all walks of life with a simple design. Think of all the other religions in the world. Have you ever heard them complain about the cup design? No. And rarely has any other religion been included into holiday celebration. This is not a war on religion, this is not a PR stunt to blow up in the media, it’s a cup. It’s red, it’s simple and it’s cute. Unless religion dictates how people drink coffee, I’m sure everyone will still be getting that morning Joe from their favorite coffee shop. There are a million worse things in the world that we could be fighting for. We could use our powers for good, but instead we all decided it was best to rip apart a little, red cup. Cheers, America.

  37. ChloeLauraDale

    It’s strange to me how much uproar a cup can create. If there was a problem with the coffee then I could understand, but it’s crazy to see how many complaints have come from a simple design choice. Sometimes these situations work out well for the company. I think Starbucks have had a stroke of luck here. Creating a discussion is difficult and they have certainly done that. You don’t hear people talking about Dunkin’ Donuts; instead, it’s all about Starbucks and the red cups. The one thing Starbucks is good at doing is getting people talking. Remember their “Race Together” campaign…that didn’t go too well either, but it did spark a discussion. Fair play to Starbucks for the way they have handled the criticisms. I think they are a classy company in no danger of losing any customers. In the grand scheme of things, I hope everyone can start to see the bigger picture and not get so caught up in these minor issues.

    With December approaching, let’s hope we can all get in the Christmas spirit, despite the lack of snowmen on our Starbucks cups.

  38. Victoria Reid

    Although I am a faithful Starbucks customer, I have to admit that I’ve never actually stopped to focus on the design of the ever popular red cup. Obviously I notice when they break out these “holiday” cups, but I’ve never really noticed that the designs change each year. With that being said, I found it ridiculous that people were genuinely upset but the fact that this season’s cups didn’t feature anything holiday related, let alone Christmas specific. I even read one article about a man who was claiming that Starbucks was taking “Christ and Christmas” off their cups with the new design.

    I really admire the fact that Starbucks standing behind their decision and acknowledging that they try to include all beliefs through their holiday designs rather than just assuming everyone is celebrating Christmas. I am a huge Christmas lover and take any opportunity to deck something out in Christmas decoration, but I also realize that not everyone celebrates this holiday or even feels as strongly about it. Seeing as how color of the cups isn’t the reason I love Starbucks, I will absolutely continue to be a frequent customer.

  39. azachar1

    Beautifully written Aislinn!

    It’s hard to believe that people are worried about a design on a coffee cup when hundreds of people lost their lives in the tragic events that took place in Paris. It really puts everything in life into perspective.

    With all that prefaced, I don’t think Starbucks as a brand will suffer much. In fact, I read a recent article (http://www.forbes.com/sites/katiesola/2015/11/09/starbucks-red-cups/) that argued the exact opposite. I happen to agree with Forbes here. I think the hype will only create further brand awareness.

    It’s also not like Starbucks ever had a cross or anything actually religious on their cups…but if they did I would obviously prefer the Jewish ones decorated in blue with menorahs on them 🙂

    In all seriousness though, enough with the cups. Let’s focus on making this world a more peaceful, less violent place for us all to live in!

  40. Sarah

    Even though I am not a coffee drinker, I do like to have a Starbucks drink once in a blue moon. I fully support Starbucks and their decision, I think it is great that they’re standing by their beliefs. A pretty cup is always nice but, I rather have a simple cup with a powerful meaning than something that excludes other cultures. It’s honestly ridiculous how people reacted to the change. The world is becoming so materialistic, Christmas and many other holidays are slowly losing their true meanings. I agree life is way too short to be dealing with things like this.

  41. kassaramcelroy

    The Starbucks red cup controversy is absurd. I would somewhat understand the public uproar if Starbucks had not changed its cups at all for the holidays. I believe the design is smart, simple, and intended for a broader audience of all people who practice any religion. If anything, I think Starbucks aimed to make the holiday season more accepting and less discriminatory by making its cups simply red.

    The terrorizing events that occurred in globally this weekend are issues that are actually worth public discussion, not the Starbucks cup design. #firstworldproblems

    1. A. Murphy

      I totally agree with you. We, as a society, should be spending time concerned about other things besides the color of the cup we are drinking our coffee out of. There are many things that we can do to get involved in issues on a large scale like humanitarian aid and issues that might seem closer to home like gender equality and the prevalence of sexual assault.

      I agree… #firstworldproblems

  42. Lindsey

    Starbucks has no obligation to any one religion, any holiday, or any group of people who would demand that there be certain decorations on their coffee cups. Their normal, non-holiday cups are completely plain and no one seems to take issue with them. The outrage over the cups shows a total lack of understanding that Starbucks is trying to be inclusive and not alienate people with their holiday cup design. The simple minimalistic cup is a design choice based on inclusion and understanding, and to try to make it mean any more than that is ridiculous.

  43. Abby Drapeau

    I think the big takeaway from the Starbucks controversy is that you can’t please everyone. As of late, it seems like everyone is trying to be more politically correct and more accepting towards others. However, when Starbucks makes an effort to adapt to this, they are criticized over it. When I talked to my friends and family about this, they didn’t seem to have an opinion on the cups, and thinks the overall unhappiness about it is absurd. I think this is something that the media really expanded on and made it into a bigger issue than it actually is.

  44. Pakelody Cheam

    Like many who have already commented, I can’t imagine being someone who gets frustrated over the design of a coffee cup. My peppermint mocha tastes just as festive as it did last year when there was some design I can’t even remember now.
    Those who are upset generally seem to be people who don’t want “Christmas” taken away from them, but from a truly religious-Christmas view, nutcrackers and sleigh bells don’t have anything to do with it.
    Obviously, there are bigger issues in the world, and I hope, for the sake of society, that the stir over these red cups end soon.

  45. Emily Green

    Honestly I think this whole Starbucks cup thing is so ridiculous. Are we seriously living in a country full of people that is going to boycott a company for its cups when there are major and traumatizing events going on in the world? It is selfish and childish. Starbucks changes its holiday design to keep it fresh. This year they kept it simple and decided only to make the cups red. Who cares? If they want to keep them politically correct and focus on the holiday season rather that Christmas, I applaud them – this country is full of different people celebrating many different holidays for different religion. I think more companies and brands should focus on the holidays and not just Christmas. Even so, Starbucks still sells its yearly Christmas products. The fight over cups that have about a 30 minute lifespan before getting thrown in the garbage is absurd and needs to end. Bravo for their explanation and refusal to apologize, because they have no reason to apologize for trying to please everyone. Isn’t that what PR is all about, anyway?

  46. Elaine

    The red cup is one of logos of Starbucks. It just a title to sell more products. Why it can be a controversy I really don’t know. Starbucks is a mature organization, all logos and all products are confident by the publics. I don’t think Starbucks do something wrong or make some mistakes. They needn’t do an apologize. It just a design , a logo . Why mass media give its more meaning?

  47. joebarone28

    I think people were very upset with the fact that malls were removing Christmas trees from their “meet Santa” sections and took all their anger and frustation out on Starbucks. Many individuals were disgusted how malls took away Christmas trees from a Santa display to not offend anyone – meanwhile it offended more people by doing so than it would have if they would have left it up.

    The idea that companies are getting rid of the true meaning of Christmas branches from the lack of trees in the mall and got worse with the lack of Christmas symbols on a simple cup. I understand why there was such an uproar but it all stemmed from the mall situation.

    I am not a coffee fan so it really doesn’t effect me much.

  48. Tara

    I think the negative attention that the Starbucks’ cups are getting from the media is ridiculous. Starbucks is not planning some “war on Christmas” and did people suddenly forget that the United States is a melting pot of cultures? Christmas is not the only Holiday that occurs in the next few months and it is sad to think people would think their religion takes priority over another. I for one will not stop drinking Starbucks because I don’t think they did anything wrong.

    I am also very pleased with how Starbucks handled the situation. The statement Jeffrey Fields made, “This year we wanted to usher in the holidays with a purity of design that welcomes all of our stories,” gave me some hope for the future. I think there are more important things happening in the world and it is disappointing to see a cup getting so much attention.

  49. Jeff Lansky

    I am a big coffee drinker and I go to Starbucks a lot. I love their holiday drinks and I actually bought a box of the Christmas blend for my Keurig on Friday. I think that the attention that the red cups are getting are absolutely ridiculous. I don’t think it is a big of a deal as people are making it out to be because Starbucks is still serving Christmas themed drinks and cookies.
    I think that it is great that Starbucks issued a statement explain their cup choice while not apologizing. Starbucks has no reason to apologize and they did the right thing by at least explain their decision.

  50. Jack De Gilio

    The Starbucks cup has become a topic of major conversation this past week, and honestly I don’t understand why. To me, it’s a little stupid because it’s literally just a cup from Starbucks that you’re just going to throw out afterward.

    I actually have a friend who is “irate” about the fact that Starbucks decided to do the red cup because he feels as though it’s not festive enough and they tried to be to politically correct so everyone would be happy. He actually said he probably wouldn’t get anything from Starbucks because of this (which it makes no difference because he doesn’t drink Starbucks anyway.)

    I kind of don’t understand that personally. I do think that there is a point where being TOO politically correct becomes kind of silly. However, the fact that there are people getting angry about this red cup though is almost laughable in my opinion. Life is way too short to be angry at a cup. In a situation like this, the decision was smart because it may not be grand, but the color is still festive. From a PR standpoint, I think this was a good move because not everyone celebrates Christmas. Nobody is being left out because of this, and also it’s just simple. Sometimes simplicity is better, and in this case I think it worked. People that are angry about this just seem to be looking for things to be angry about.

    I agree with everything Aislinn said in this blog and I definitely agree with how Starbucks reacted to this. There’s no reason to apologize for the choice in design and I think their explanation that the cup can help tell everyone’s story is great, and I think Starbucks is really trying to think of something that all of its customers can relate to. Of course, you can’t please everyone, and that shows with this entire story.

  51. nvergara1721

    I am still in disbelief over the mass media coverage that this “issue” has received. Yes, I understand how much a company values its brand, but the fact that the public is freaking out over a silly cup is baffling. I am glad that Starbucks came out with a statement that did not have an apology. They have no reason to apologize. I think Starbucks is doing a great job at handling this said controversy.

  52. Judea Hartley

    To be honest, I actually like the new holiday design for the Starbucks cups. A human nature quality that most people exhibit consist of viewing change as a negative thing. The outside design of the holiday cups has changed, the quality and taste in which the the coffee obtains has not change. In no way, shape, or form do I think people should stop drinking coffee from Starbucks. I am not fully comprehending why people are so upset. Any organization is allowed to change their logo, design, or internal structure. As long as all of these changes breed success, these changes don’t enable l major public image problems. Quite frankly, I believe that Starbucks was being considerate regarding their diverse publics. Everyone doesn’t celebrate or believe in Christmas so maybe the company didn’t want to make the customers who don’t believe, feel uncomfortable or unwelcomed to purchase coffee. In contrast, the customers who do believe and celebrate Christams still get a good sense of the Christmas spirit while purchasing good quality coffee at Starbucks. Starbucks doesn’t need any kind of publicity just to get exposure. Their customer service and quality products enable good publicity and visibility.

  53. thesimplemind1

    I was so shocked to see how much coverage this got recently. Honestly, I think Starbucks made a great choice for this holiday season, and I’m very happy they didn’t apologize for it. People overreact to the dumbest things sometimes. I’m not going to stop getting my coffee because Starbucks decided to have people tell their own stories. I think it is a great message. I’m the end, it has gotten more people to talk about Starbucks which is great for them! I personally like this year’s design.

  54. emilyrwalsh

    This past week, all we have been hearing about is the controversy of the Starbucks’ cup. It honestly makes me so upset that people have nothing better to do than complain about something so minimal. I firmly think that people can believe whatever they believe and no one should be belittled for the religion they choose to follow. I honestly think it was a good move for Starbucks. They stayed away from leaning too far into a specific religion. They kept the cups a clean slate so any patron can “design” their cup, no matter what holiday they celebrate. I think that the Starbucks tried to use the red cup as a symbol that brings everyone together, saying that at the core we are all the same, but it is okay to believe different things. It is up to the individual person to decide.

    Unfortunately, people did not take it this way, and many say that Starbucks is taking away from the holiday season. I think Starbucks is trying to do the opposite by making it more of a holiday season as opposed to a Christmas season. Trust me, I am a true Christmas-lover, but I am also aware that many do not practice the holiday. We have to be accepting of everyone. Especially as a PR person, I have to understand that everyone is equal and has a voice. I think Starbucks is extremely smart and they know how to handle a problem such as this. I agree with Aislinn that Starbucks will not be hurt by this and I will definitely not stop purchasing Starbucks!

    It also upsets me that everyone is so concerned with cups at a coffee shop instead of being concerned with the bigger picture. Over this weekend, thousands of innocent lives were lost at various parts of the world. We must focus on what is truly important-being there for other countries like they were there for us in our time of need. We are ONE world and we must stick together and help each other.


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