It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Coffee… By @ThatPinkSuit
By Rhiannon Butlin
It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Coffee…
The Starbucks cup. A seemingly mundane drinks receptacle with a surprising amount of power. It has graced the Instagram account of countless girls over the past year who’s egotism has had them swooning over the addition of their own name to the cup itself. It’s Cinderella-like transformation over this season has brought a skip to the step of many a deeply unfulfilled city-worker.
But now this festive redesign has garnered attention from a usually quiet and inoffensive little group who are best described as American Christian Conservatives. A video was released a few weeks ago of a man aggressively declaring the design of the cup un- Christian. Why? Well, because the cup has – as it has done since the redesign strategy was first rolled out – chosen to decorate the Christmas cups with a secular design. In this case, they have chosen an all-red design.
This is no surprise, few brands would be willing to alienate customers with such an outward affiliation with a specific faith. As such, in commercial terms, Christmas has become increasingly secular. So why Starbucks? And why its’ humble little cup? Starbucks has been at the centre of controversy before.
We won’t spend too much time pondering the ridiculous nature of the complaint for fear of loosing a few IQ points along the way, it essentially concerned the female figure used in the logo and a jumble of ideological arguments, but all in all it was something to do with nipples and paganism.
It would seem that with phenomenal financial success comes a great deal of risk, you quickly become a rather overgrown scapegoat for any complaints against the commercialism and ‘The Establishment’ more generally.
Closer to home, I have only recently realised that our local Starbucks in Brixton has swapped exclusively to the cups, perhaps something to do with limited resources in proportion to customer demand, however, I suspect based on the giggle from the barista who explained this fact to me, it’s more to do with mugs mysteriously going missing. This, in my opinion, is a careless decision made with little thought for the repercussions. By vastly altering consumer experience (who doesn’t love to wrap their hands round a steaming mug after all), Starbucks are defacing their brand, for, in my opinion, very little financial gain.