Photo by Omar Lopez on Unsplash

How A Set Of Cups Shook The World

You know what cups I’m talking about… Right?

Ever since the company opened in 1977, they have been doing this consistently and without remorse.

Every time, at the beginning of November, they announce a design of cup.

Maybe you go there once in a while, or perhaps you visit there multiple times a day. Whatever the drink is it doesn’t matter. A latte, coffee, tea, or perhaps one of those specialty drinks you can only get around certain times.

There’s always something to look forward to at this magical place called:


But what was most important of all was Starbucks coffee cups around the holiday seasons. It happens every year and many of us are excited about it.

Well, maybe not all of us.

From 1977, Starbucks released design after design with no complaints at all from the general public.

That is until 2015, and the world all changed.

Everyone remembers it. It was the year they launched these ghastly things.

The 2015 Cups

You mad bro? (Credit: Starbucks)

But wait isn’t that the same design as one of the 2018 coffee cups?

Yes, that’s right. Though I do find it strange that no one has complained about this particular design this year.

Perhaps some people have actually matured since 2015. Hmmm…

But 2015 was different. There were less mature people and more people hellbent on electing Donald Trump as their president. And thus began the “war against Christmas.”

Why this cup got so much flak was up until this point was that the designs have been more lively. And this one clearly is more plain and subdued. Some took to arms (quite literally) and posted videos professing that this chain was removing the spirit of Christ and Christmas from their cups.

Even though I don’t think they ever had pictures of Jesus on their cups, people rallied around these messages of hate at a time where this coffee company wanted people to be more included.

They made a big deal out of something so small and insignificant that it shook the world.

Then 2016 Rolled Around

The year where Donald Trump was elected and the world seemed to be a little darker. But in an attempt to bring people together yet again, there was a glimmer of hope and light. And it was coffee cup shaped.

Why can’t we be friends? (Credit: Starbucks)

But despite dropping the red and adding more images to the design, there were still many unsatisfied. Claiming that the cup would go as far as pushing a political agenda onto people, people continued to rally around these messages.

This only persisted into next year when Starbucks launched their 2017 cup.

No “totally gay” things happening here. (Credit: Starbucks)

As soon as it was suggested that the people holding hands could be two dudes or two ladies, people were quick to say Starbucks has yet another agenda they’re pushing. A gay one.

But all of that seemed to change this year when Starbucks went out of its way to bring back four designs.

A Blast From The Past

Familiar faces (Credit: Starbucks)

And up to this point, there have been no complaints — at least as far as the cups are concerned. While Starbucks did botch a promotional campaign revolving around their red reusable cups, I’m confident that Starbucks will stick the landing next year.

Regardless, I’d still probably go there and sip on some tea while working away at yet another article.

Why though?

Because through these three years Starbucks has shaken the world.

  • Starbucks kept to their priorities. Despite the political turmoil that Americans are in right now, Starbucks still held its ground. They continued to make cups that supported unity and you see this theme throughout their cups. You only need to look past the screaming masses of evangelists and hardcore conservatives.
  • Starbucks was understanding. A lot of big companies tend to ignore it’s buyers once they experience success. But Starbucks is different and pays attention to what people were saying. We figured out their intention was for unity because they responded to those outcries. Furthermore, this year they ran a second promotion of the red reusable cups due to public outcry. Starbucks listens which is a lot different than other companies.

But the other thing that Starbucks inadvertently made me realize is that it shows just how powerful hate and relevancy can be.

And the best way to understand what I’m getting at is by explaining the mere exposure effect. It’s the idea that the longer we are exposed to something we slowly begin to accept it and even show affection.

Right now there is a lot of hostility. Not necessarily towards the cups or the promotions but just in general. Starbucks is simply a convenient target for us to get angry and frustrated.

But Starbucks — as strange as it may be — is more or less our champion.

They’ve taken a lot of kickback and responded with kindness and unity.

They’re just a coffee company who wants people to appreciate the holiday season with one of their expensive lattes.

But through all that hostility, Starbucks continues to grow because it’s relevant. I would not be surprised if people are curious about what next years holiday design would be for these cups. And the reason I think that is because year after year, Starbucks has been in the headlines.

And the reason why I say Starbucks is our champion is because of that unity message. Remember, the more people show hostility towards something, the more that they will eventually show affection and acceptance.

For sure there will be people still ornery about the designs, but over time people will come to appreciate the designs once more. There will be more excitement eventually as long as Starbucks continues and sticks to these priorities.

And people might be thinking this is all brainwashing or a company pushing an agenda and that’s not the case. The mere exposure effect happens from within us.

It’s the same tactics that got Donald Trump elected. It’s the same tactics for why some of us find comfort in the golden arches of McDonald's.

It’s really a matter of time before we ourselves shake the world once more. All because of some coffee cups.

Entrepreneur, positive-minded. I used to say a lot, now I do a lot. Documenting my growth. Support me on Patreon:

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