Starbucks Red Cup Controversy: A Hoax? Why It Could be 2015’s Greatest Marketing Stunt

Nov 23, 2015 09:11 AM EST | By Althea Serad


When the Starbucks Red Cup Controversy blew over last month, it was huge. It seemed like people everywhere had a thing or two to say about the issue, including why there shouldn't be an issue. Now it appears that the entire thing had been fake.

In fact, it could even be a simple marketing stunt to get people talking about the coffee giant's new holiday cups.

According to the Daily Dot, a social media analytics firm Spredfast did some statistics on the entire Starbucks Red Cup Controversy and the numbers reportedly said that there is no factual evidence that Christians have been offended by the cup. In addition, neither were they posting about how anti-religious the new cups were.

In fact, nobody actually cared when statistics are involved. While there have been "Anti-Starbucks" posts, there has been an equally large amount of posts saying #itsjustacpup.

The entire Starbucks Red Cup Controversy started when a man named Joshua Feuerstein posted a video after he bought a Starbucks drink and found the cup to be upsetting since it was "Anti-Christmas," which for him, meant "Anti-Christian."

As the video (seen below) went viral, Twitter went crazy with thousands of tweets of supposedly outraged individuals who wanted to "bring back" the old Christmas friendly cups. Some were just outraged that there had been an outrage in the first place, further fueling the number of tweets.

According to Food Beast, at the time, Starbucks-related tweets skyrocketed by 131%, as over 861,000 tweets were made concerning the Starbucks Red Cup Controversy.

Check out tweets here and here.

As for Starbucks' reaction to the fiasco, the coffee giant said that they meant no political statement with their new cups and that in fact, they wanted the plain red cups to promote creativity for their holiday cup contest.

Check out contest entries here, here and here.

In an article published on Starbucks' website, the company also went back in time to explain how their old cups told holiday stories. Their new red cup is a way for them to promote other people's stories.

Meanwhile, according to The Urban Twist, whether true or not, it cannot be denied that the coffee company gained a whole lot of free publicity for the Starbucks Red Cup Controversy. With a single irate post, netizens quickly responded and talked about them, posting tweets, photos, videos, and the likes.

Eventually, people stopped posting about the Starbucks Red Cup Controversy.

So, what is the issue here? In the words of Food Beast, the whole thing was "a battle between Feuerstein, apparently Donald Trump and people who were bored enough to add fuel to the fire."

Hopefully people could find more meaningful things to care about.

Check out tweets showing that people didn't really care about the Starbucks Red Cup Controversy here, here and here.

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