With October over, Starbucks has decreed it's almost time to put down that Pumpkin Spice Latte and pick up a holiday drink in an appropriately seasonal cup. This year the chain is playing it safe with designs that are unlikely to spur the kind of backlash elicited by some of its previous more polarizing packaging plays.
Four disposable cups have a somewhat retro flair the chain says are inspired by the company's coffee heritage and the season. There's also an environmental push. People who order one six holiday beverages on Nov. 2 get a free reusable red holiday cup.
Each year, Starbucks and other chains come out with festive winter designs for their packaging and introduce holiday products, like Starbucks' Christmas Blend coffee. Given its dominance, the cups from Starbucks get the most attention, including some complaints.
In 2015, for example, critics suggested red ombre cups were not Christmas-y enough. The 2017 effort stirred up minor controversy as well. Some groups applauded what appeared to be a cartoon lesbian couple leaning in for a kiss in a commercial and a couple holding hands on the cup itself. Others said they were turned off by what they perceived to be pro-gay rights imagery.
With this year's plan, Starbucks is playing it safe. The four disposable cups include one that's largely red with stripes, one with a green and white "Stargyle" design, one with a red and white houndstooth look and one with holly and berries.