Don't Overthink the New Starbucks Red Cup Design


If my Facebook feed is any indication, certain groups are up in arms about the new look for Starbuck's Holiday cups.  A friend linked to a Buzzfeed piece that reads more like an Onion article.  “The Starbucks coffee cup change smells more of political correctness than a consumer-led change,” British conservative MP David Burrowes told right-wing website Breitbart London.


I'm sure people are imagining a group of creatives sitting around Mad Men style conspiring to design a cup that omits all the religious undertones of Christmas.  I'm not sure how snowflakes are a religious symbol but it's probably because I became Catholic through RCIA and thus missed CDC classes.

Occam's Razor

It's probably more simple than you think.  My friend Dean posted in the comments that it probably costs less to go with a simple red design.  Actually, it's two shades of red: "This year’s iconic red Starbucks cup features a two-toned ombré design, with a bright poppy color on top that shades into a darker cranberry below."

Update (as Little Merry Sunshine points out):  "Frankly, this is brilliant marketing. No one would be talking about Starbucks if they'd kept the snowflakes. Instead, our Facebook feeds are overflowing with this gibberish and I've even seen this "news" reported by respected media outlets. Free press is the best commercial possible."

Regardless of the reason, at the end of the day, all I expect from my Beverage Delivery System is for it to hold the contents without spilling them.  Bonus if it can maintain the core temperature until I'm finished consuming said beverage.

Of course if you really want to know the story behind the cup, you could just ask.  "Taking a cue from customers who have been doodling designs on cups for years ... this year’s design is another way Starbucks is inviting customers to create their own stories with a red cup that mimics a blank canvas.

“In the past, we have told stories with our holiday cups designs,” said Jeffrey Fields, Starbucks vice president of Design & Content. “This year we wanted to usher in the holidays with a purity of design that welcomes all of our stories.”

On the other hand, Starbuck's is very clever and I believe their is a more sinister motive behind the switch.  The company obviously wants edge out Solo in the Red Flippy Cup market.

Thank you for reading and I hope you will comment below.  If you enjoyed this post, you might like this one about Holiday Cards.  Now here's the part where I beg for stuff because we get paid in likes, shares, re-tweets and feedback. Please also do any and all of the following:

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