Starbucks’ cup sparks outrage


This past Saturday, Starbucks unveiled its new cup design for the holiday season—and it was met with hostile response from Starbucks drinkers.

CNN History of Starbucks CupsSocial media erupted in anger upon the release of the “minimalist” red cup, claiming that Starbucks (in addition to other large companies and corporations) was attacking Christmas and Christians by not celebrating the Christmas spirit on their cups.

In previous years, Starbucks’ cups have featured designs with snowflakes, reindeer and other seasonal symbols on its cups during the holiday season.

Many people are upset because they believe that Starbucks has become more “politically correct” and instead of changing the cups design in response to consumer demand, the change was made for political correctness.

There a large group of people on social media calling for the boycott of the company and they are gaining momentum. Even Republican Presidential Candidate, Donald Trump spoke on the controversial issue, comically being known as “Cupgate.”

“No more ‘Merry Christmas’ on Starbucks. No more,” Trump said at a speaking event in Springfield, Ill., this past Monday. “I wouldn’t buy … maybe we should boycott Starbucks — I don’t know.”

Honestly, I don’t think many people are surprised that Donald Trump would comment on this issue during a speaking event; bringing up “Cupgate” provided Trump with a moment of comedic relief and an opportunity to implicitly express his support of Christianity and the celebration of Christmas.

However, I am surprised by the amount of coverage that this story is getting from national news networks. CNN did a story today (and I’m guessing they’ve been covering it since “Cupgate” emerged), in which they actually went through the history of Starbucks’ holiday cups for the past 5 years.

CNN news anchor, Carol Costello, had to hold back moments of laughter as they covered the story—mirroring my exact sentiments. How is this newsworthy? Why is the design on a cup of coffee national news?

The triviality of the coverage was made strikingly clear, because as soon as the coverage of the coffee cup was over, CNN’s next segment was regarding a battle taking place in Iraq to reclaim a key city from ISIS. Yet we are discussing a coffee cup’s design.

And now, the story has gained even more momentum as Dunkin’ Donuts has come into play with the release of their more “festive” holiday cup featuring the word “Joy” in red script surrounded by green pine branches.

It goes without saying that ratings are important for any news organization—it is how they make money. But at what cost? I’m sure the coverage of the Starbucks “Cupgate” provided news networks with a bump in ratings, but was it worth it when there are so many other important topics and events the news should be covering? I think that the cup design is something worth talking about, but it should not be covered as national news.