Starbucks unveiled its 2017 holiday cup on Wednesday and this year it comes with a color-it-in-yourself message: "Give Good."
Actually, it's more of an entreaty.
"This year’s cup is intentionally designed to encourage our customers to add their own color and illustrations," said Leanne Fremar, executive creative director for Starbucks, in a statement. "We love the idea of everyone making this year’s cup their own."
The Seattle-based chain described the design as "a pair of hands holding red cups of coffee, an ode to cups of years past, connected with swirling ribbons with lively holiday scenes and splashes of red and green."
Jordan Kay, the designer, said: "I liked the idea of hands as the centering point, a symbol of connection, love and giving joy."
The cup's sleeve — for hot beverages — features the invitation to "Give Good," the theme for this year's holiday cup.
“Giving Good can be as small as someone opening the door for you, or recognizing the people that enrich your life — your child’s teacher, a caregiver, a family friend," added Fremar. "The holidays are a time to celebrate all the good we give to each other and our community.”
The cup itself drummed up tons of pre-release drama.
In October, a Starbucks employee posted a picture of decorated red cups that fans believed to be the chain's 2017 holiday edition.
Though it's a paper cup that's thrown out as soon as the hot drink in it is consumed, the cup is a big deal. Starbucks learned that the hard way in 2015, when it chose to make a plain red cup its seasonal beverage-container. That move caused an uproar from some consumers who felt it wasn't festive enough.
Last year, Starbucks did an 180 degree turn and released 13 different holiday cup designs — one more than there are days of Christmas. The company had asked customers to share their cup drawings and 1,200 artwork suggestions were submitted over an eight-day period.
The coffee giant began its cup tradition in 1997. Each one over the 20 years has been a riff on the rich shade of red that is symbolic of the holiday season.
Robert Passikoff, founder of the New York-based brand research consultancy Brand Keys, sees the holiday cups as a way for Starbucks to garner attention, not necessarily sales.
"It’s not a question of brand awareness. Every sentient being in the universe knows Starbucks," he said. "(Brands) take every single occasion to do whatever they can to create some sort of social buzz."
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