Red Cups, Christmas and New Containers of Brand Hate

“Out of all the things I have lost, I miss my mind the most,” Mark Twain said. I believe it. On Monday, I thought this brouhaha over the red Starbucks holiday cup would die a quick death. Then ratings machine Donald Trump weighed in with one of the weirder calls for a brand boycott I’ve ever seen.

“Maybe we should boycott Starbucks,” Trump said, having reminded the crowd that the company is his tenant, as quoted by Jenna Johnson on Monday for The Washington Post. “I don’t know. Seriously. I don’t care. By the way: That’s the end of that lease. But who cares? Who cares? Who cares?!”

Abortion coffee comes in red holiday cups, posts Joshua Feuerstein on Tuesday in a Facebook video that had 155,000 views that afternoon. Several such videos, hashtagged #‎merrychristmasstarbucks, reside on his Facebook Page, which has nearly 2 million fans.

In one of the calmer laments, laced with cynicism about marketing, Lisa McKay Wheatley wrote on the Starbucks Facebook Page, which has 36 million fans.

“Dear Starbucks, she types, “I am Christian, I don’t drink coffee, and I don’t like your hot chocolate. I don’t care at all what color your cups are. Way to get free advertising! Now stop it.”

Here’s what markets may learn from Starbucks:

  • I’ll only post some of the less hateful responses to the red cup ire. Note that Starbucks hasn’t joined in by retweeting or reposting the meme.

As for the bottom line, a CNBC piece includes speculation that Starbucks won’t go in the red: “I think it’s a non-event from a traffic and stock perspective,” Will Slabaugh, managing director at Stephens, a financial services firm, said. “It’s blown up on social media among a select group of consumers and non-consumers that likely won’t change their habits.”

Do marketers want to have this kind of publicity for their own brands?

Please respond in the comments section below.

Heather Fletcher is senior content editor with Target Marketing.
Publish date: November 11, 2015 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT