Red Starbucks CupsStarbucks.  So…if you haven’t heard…maybe you’re under a rock somewhere?

I know that could sound like a dig, but hey….I don’t have television at home and even I got the 411!  You literally can’t log on to Facebook or Twitter without having it right in your face.

The Donald himself even had a few words about Starbucks taking Christmas off their 2015 Holiday Season cups: “Did you read about Starbucks ?” Trump asked the crowd in Springfield, Illinois on Monday night while out on the campaign trail. “No more ‘Merry Christmas’ at Starbucks” to which the crowd booed. “I have one of the most successful Starbucks, in Trump Tower. Maybe we should boycott Starbucks? I don’t know. Seriously, I don’t care. That’s the end of that lease, but who cares?” he added.

Forbes Business headline reads…

Trump Threatens To End Starbucks’ Lease Over Red Holiday Cup Design


So while the populace is either outraged at the brand, OR praising them for the bold move, who is really winning here?  Starbucks.

They are laughing all the way to the bank, and may have their Merriest Christmas ever once 4th Quarter reporting comes in after the first of the year.

If you are a marketer, here are some things that you could learn from Starbucks Holiday Saga 2015.

Starbucks found a way to get virtually everyone in the known world to focus directly on their brand.  Today, I haven’t heard a single conversation about McDonald’s, BMW, Pepsi Co, or the Catholic Church (all great brands, mind you).   I’ve seen more than 100 Facebook posts about the All Red Starbucks cups, and countless Tweets!

Starbucks didn’t need more “brand awareness”.  What they created was more “brand attention”.  And more brand attention means more sales.  And those sales translate into a strong bottom line for the brand in the 4th quarter of 2015.  CEO Howard Shultz and company shareholders are bound to be happy with the numbers!

Starbucks found a way to rally their base.  Left-leaning hipsters are bound to rush to the aid of their cup-o-joe of choice!  Who knows but maybe they’ll all buy an extra “double foam, quad shot, 2 sugars in the raw, soy latte” or two per week, just to stand in support of their beloved-free-wifi-hangouts-0f-America (and yes, even internationally).

Starbucks, when all is said and done, didn’t abandon Christmas after all.  (What?  Really? lol)  Nah!  It was just a code-orange after all (Thank GOD it wasn’t a code- red!  lol again)  It appears that America’s favorite coffee brand will once again be offering their annual Christmas blend AND a full line of Christmas products, complete with Christmas coffee mugs, Advent calendar-ish items, Frosty the Snowman cookies, and yes…even those hideous seasonal sweaters that we’ve all come to hate and love.

Starbucks loves Christmas after all!  Maybe “love” is strong, but at the very least the Religious Right can breathe a little easier AND enjoy a delicious Skinny-Mocha-Latte after all.



For those of you who are building a brand, take good notes.

Starbucks found a creative way to become the buzz word of the day.  They found away to get their customer base to talk about them even MORE!  It’s doubtful that the Red Cup Campaign itself will yield any new customers, BUT it could yield even more sales from their customer “base”, while also drawing greater attention from their customer “fringe”.

One business that I co-own is  I purchased the company about 18 months or so ago with a business partner of mine, Brannon East.  The company was struggling when we bought it, and it needed quite a bit of work.  In the process of turning Boxtera around, Brannon & I hired Ray Higdon, brilliant internet marketer and sales strategist, to help us with our company.

Ray gave us a great piece of advice: “Customer acquisition is fine, but don’t spend so much time on customer acquisition that you forget to keep selling to your base.  If you have loyal customers who love your product, focus on THOSE customers.  Keep selling to them!  Get creative.  Get them involved in your brand.  You want THEM talking about YOU!  And that won’t happen if your attention is more on new customer acquisition than it is on THOSE CUSTOMERS!”

Boy, was that great advice!  THANKS RAY


Starbucks probably didn’t do a lot of customer acquisition with their cup redesign.  But it certainly got their customers talking about them.  And as it turns out…between the absence of Christmas on their cup, but the inclusion of Christmas in many store items…they found a way to focus on all of their customers: those who Celebrate the Season, and those who don’t.  And who wins biggest?  The Starbucks marketing department.

And for those of us who are marketers, they modeled a great marketing tip!  How’s THAT for a great big MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM STARBUCKS?!


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