Halloween is over and Starbucks is introducing their new Christmas cups. They do this every year but this year the world is watching because, well, last year was something of a mess. The much ballyhooed Starbucks’ cup controversy is hopefully a thing of the past as the company today introduces an all new cup featuring a picture of 100 people drawn by just one stroke of the pen.
Traditionally the holiday cup is red. But folks will be seeing green first thing on November 1st. (There is a festive red cup coming out…just not yet)
“The green cup and the design represent the connections Starbucks has as a community with its partners (employees) and customers. During a divisive time in our country, Starbucks wanted to create a symbol of unity as a reminder of our shared values, and the need to be good to each other,” said Howard Schultz, chairman and CEO in a release.
In other words, all the moralizing last year taught nobody anything about moralizing over stupid cups. Starbucks remained above the fray last year but this year they see opportunity. You can bet baristas everywhere are tracking how many green cups they sell. Every cup is a sermon. Just ask the profits (prophets) of Starbucks.
In a new piece being broadcast today Starbucks is being accused of whitewashing Christmas through a series of incremental changes since 2009 to their iconic red cups. Every Christmas season as a seeming signal to consumers that the holiday season has arrived Starbucks changes from using white cups to red cups. In years past they have had festive holiday designs on their cups. This year, they don’t. It is just a red cup with Starbuck’s odd logo on it.
This is war on Christmas?
Raheem Kassam says so:
“But Ragih,” I hear you say. “Why do you care about what Starbucks is doing anyway? It’s crap coffee and none of us buy it.” Sure, but plenty of people do. And subliminally, they’re being told/reminded that this time of the year is no longer about Christmas. It’s about the colour red, or something. It’s a “holiday season”. Don’t say Merry Christmas. It’s offensive.
Let’s bring this back to reality.
First of all, nobody looks to Starbucks as a Christmas bellwether. Is it not Christmas because Starbucks or any other corporate entity says so.
If Starbucks wants to make a political statement with their packaging let them. Want to know what matters to them, really? It’s sales. That is all. If they go too far in their politics guess what? People won’t go there (see Target). People vote with money and Starbucks is most interested in money over Christmas. Christmas is just a means to their money end. That is all. When they go to far they will have slit their own throat.
Kassam may well be right in that corporate entities in America are whitewashing Christianity away from culture. But we don’t have to jump on the war on Christmas band wagon to make this point. Christmas isn’t going anywhere because it was never at Starbucks to begin with.