There is no company that can make us all care about, talk about, and eagerly await the vessel that carries our cup of java quite like Starbucks. Every year during the holiday season, Starbucks swaps out their normal cups for the signature “red cup,” bringing added festivity and holiday cheer to all. Last year, some of that joyous holiday warmth was lost when the fine folks that reside within the depths of the Internet complained that the look of the 2015 cup did not feature enough overtly “Christmas” design features, thus deeming Starbucks to be anti-Christmas and proposing an attack on Christ. Because that logic definitely makes sense.
Fast forward to this year, if I were Starbucks, I would probably plaster a giant middle finger across every red cup and offer coupons to Dunkin Donuts, Caribou Coffee, or literally any other cafe where you can buy coffee in a cup that is not supposedly attacking your religion. Instead, Starbucks has opted to take the higher road (mad respect) and debut a new ~exclusive~ green cup, which features the faces of all types of people, from a farmer, to a barista, to a family, all drawn in one continuous stroke. This fluid gesture and symbol of unity, as the CEO of Starbucks put it, is a “reminder of our shared values, and the need to be good to each other.” They will also debut a red cup on November 10th, so the green cup haters (which are sure to surface any time now) can also funnel more of their negative energy into a different colored cup if they so choose.
Look—do I think this whole thing is really dumb? YES. Am I a complete and utter sucker for the hype around Starbucks red cups? DOUBLE YES. No matter how meaningless and arbitrary the designs on the holiday Starbucks disposable vessels are, I can’t help but get excited about their annual arrival. A lot of people might dismiss my enthusiasm, arguing that it all tastes the same, regardless of what color the cup is that you’re drinking out of. I concur that this is true, however there’s something about the exclusivity and timeliness of this pop of color that makes the holiday season pump through my veins in the same way that the caffeine from my coffee beverage does.
There’s no way around the fact that we live in a world where some truly disheartening things happen every day. Not gonna lie, 2016 has been a rough one, and there are so many issues greater than the color of our latte cup. That being said, I think it’s important to note what Starbucks is doing here. Yes, it is a brilliant marketing scheme aiming to get people excited about buying their coffee, while encouraging them to stand together during times of adversity, especially during the holiday season, while also silencing the Internet trolls from #RedCupGate2015. It's a vaguely kind enough stance that even the cruelest of hipsters should struggle to find a point of criticism with which they will write a scathing think piece in response to the green cup. It’s also heartwarming and comforting enough to maybe get that routine black coffee drinker to crave something cozier like a peppermint mocha or a gingerbread latte.
What I'm trying to say is that Starbucks is basically the Kardashians of the beverage world. Whether you love it or you hate it, you’re talking about it, and you actually do kind of care on some level. Heck, consumers are so concerned about the release of this elusive cup that there are “leaked photos” of the boxes in Starbucks locations waiting to be unveiled... so at least I'm not the weirdest of the weirdos out there. Still, you can call me goofy to give even the slightest flying flip about the color of my Starbucks cup, I understand that, it's a paper cup.
Go ahead and take your coffee however you like, but I’ll be right over here drinking my peppermint mocha, all googly-eyed and blushing about my cheery red cup. I'd love it if you joined me.