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The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

Brewing up publicity

Starbucks has decided to take off the Christmas designs on the disposable red cups that the drinks are served in during this time of year–a tradition they’ve had since 1997–and many people have been bothered by it.

The controversy came into play with the holidays just around the corner.

Christmas, being such a beloved holiday, has become a continuous ritual or tradition in which people of most religious backgrounds can come together to celebrate family time and exchange presents. Since Christmas originally was intended to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, one can say it’s specifically a Christian holiday.

Starbucks Holiday Cup Controversy
Starbucks red cups throughout the years. Photo credit:

Previous cup designs were filled with mistletoe, holly, snowmen and many different Christmas-themed designs. Now that Starbucks has decided to take them off, people are outraged by the sudden change in design. This has angered many people who see this move as an attack on Christianity.

Have the culture wars come down to these disposable red paper cups?

Starbucks is taking the designs off their cups in order to reach out to a wider demographic of consumers. Not only Christians, but to other religious groups as well. This step was ultimately to bring in more revenue.

Vice President of design and concept Jeffrey Fields stated on the company news site, “Starbucks has become a place of sanctuary during the holidays… In the past, we have told stories with our holiday cups designs. This year we wanted to usher in the holidays with a purity of design that welcomes all of our stories.”

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A previous year's Starbucks cup with a more holiday-themed design. Photo credit:

According to a 2014 study by the Pew Research Center, 70.6 percent of the American population identified themselves as Christians. Although the United States is primarily a Christian country, Starbucks does not identify itself as a Christian company. Starbucks serves coffee in 18,000 locations worldwide. Because Starbucks is growing so rapidly, they have to reach out to a wider demographic and not only to Christians and Americans.

Starbucks released the holiday cups on Nov. 1 and within a few days, the issue took over the headlines. Many celebrities have weighed in on this issue and even presidential candidate Donald Trump had something to say.

“No more ‘Merry Christmas at Starbucks no more,” Trump said. “Maybe we should boycott Starbucks. I don’t know. Seriously, I don’t care. By the way: That’s the end of that lease. But who cares? Who cares? Who cares?”

Trump brings up a good point. How has this issue become such a big controversy, and who really cares?

Starbucks is not waging a war on Christmas. Creating a culture of belonging, inclusion and diversity is one of the core values of Starbucks, and each year during the holidays, the company aims to bring customers an experience that inspires the spirit of the season. Starbucks will continue to embrace and welcome customers from all backgrounds and religions in our stores around the world.

There is only one true winner to this controversy. Starbucks, by changing one simple design on their disposable cups, managed to rile up the country with free publicity and advertising. If you search the internet, there are now 9.2 million news stories on the “Starbucks red cup controversy.”

There you go, Starbucks, you managed to receive a lot of free publicity.

Sit back and watch the rest of America debate and converse on why they love or hate this new red cup, and just when the debate is about over, Starbucks will come out with a different holiday themed cup.

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