#ItsJustACup: Starbucks fires first shot in so-called ‘War on Christmas’

by | Nov 13, 2015 | Analysis, Food and Beverage, News, Popculture, Social Media

Call it the first advertising mistake of the holiday season or a genius marketing ploy, but no matter how you look at it, Starbucks is the first corporate entity to reignite the “War on Christmas” battle this year.

Starbucks sparked controversy just a few days ago when it released its newly redesigned holiday cups, a simple red design devoid of any holiday markings. The initial online and broadcast response was overwhelming, declaring that Starbucks had committed another atrocity in the so-called War on Christmas.

Major TV personalities were quick to latch on to the ridicule, with talk show hosts Ellen Degeneres and Stephen Colbert offering their own brands of satire on how to make the basic design of the new cup more festive.

Republican Presidential candidate hopeful Donald Trump also got involved, (predictably) taking it out of the joke realm and calling for a Starbucks boycott.

In response to this perceived overreaction to the cup redesign, the “#ItsJustACup” hashtag sprang up to soothe some of those holiday-themed flames of anger.

According to MediaMiser’s hashtag analysis, while Twitter sentiment toward Starbucks has been relatively balanced so far, some distinct themes surrounding the content have also emerged.

Twitter sentiment of #ItsJustACup

Of the tweets analyzed, 21 per cent connected the controversy to a perceived lack of focus on other, perhaps more important issues:

  Ten per cent of tweets reminded fellow Twitter users that both the price of Starbucks coffee or its taste should be the focus, and not the cup:

  A further six per cent of tweets tried to remind people that while Starbucks changed its cup design, the company features many other products that fully embrace the holiday season theme:

  Several others compared Starbucks to two of its major competitors, McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts (the former deftly avoided holiday controversy by placing brown snowflakes on its cup):

  Others viewed it as a possible genius marketing ploy by Starbucks to generate buzz:

But the overarching theme among tweets was to either address the absurdity of the controversy with humour, or simply plead to offended patrons to calm down and remember that, after all, #ItsJustACup.

Donald Den


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