The Green Starbucks Cup, Designed to Bring People Together, Is Just Another Thing to Be Pissed About

Election packaging gets mixed reviews

Heading into the holiday season, Starbucks wants Americans to feel united again after a brutal election season. But Americans clearly just aren't ready for that. They want to fight—over the color of a cup.

The coffee chain on Tuesday unveiled a limited-edition green cup, designed by artist Shogo Ota (below), who used a single line to draw a series of connected characters—"a coffee farmer, a family, a barista, friends embracing" and more, the brand says.

The point was to "represent shared humanity and connection, serving as a symbol for stitching people together as a united community."

"The green cup and the design represent the connections Starbucks has as a community with its partners (employees) and customers. During a divisive time in our county, Starbucks wanted to create a symbol of unity as a reminder of our shared values, and the need to be good to each other," Howard Schultz, Starbucks chairman and CEO, said in a blog post.

To which more than a few people replied: What a bunch of crap. And they let the coffee chain know about in on Twitter:

One problem is that people assumed the green cups were meant to be the official holiday cups spanning the next two months—in place of the traditional red cups, which were already under fire last year for not being Christmassy enough. (Which wasn't, by the way, Starbucks' first PR problem with a cup.)

They're not. They're a limited batch before, almost certainly, the red cups will return.

The other problem is that, a week before the most bitter presidential race in memory concludes with Election Day, trying to get people to even consider putting aside their differences seems like wishful thinking at best—and, at worst, an aggressive political stance all its own. Unity is unthinkable this week, even on something as silly as a coffee cup.

On the other hand, it is a lovely notion. And some people do seem capable of rising above the anger of the times and even appear to be enjoying this mass-produced, corporately expressed utopia. (See below.) 

Either way, unlike you, Starbucks is happy.