Starbucks launch new Christmas cups after same-sex design controversy

Rachel Hosie

Starbucks has launched a new range of Christmas cups, despite having previously launched a festive range earlier this month.

The new design has been launched to celebrate the work of 210 local charities, all nominated by customers and employees around the country as part of its Cheer for Good initiative, a statement explains.

However the new design comes in the wake of Starbucks’ original design prompting controversy around its design of what appeared to be two women holding hands.

The initial holiday cup line was launched alongside an advert depicting people of various ages, races and sexualities. It ends with two women embracing over a cup of piping hot coffee.

This then led to some people criticising Starbucks online and even threatening to boycott the coffee chain because they took umbrage with the idea of a lesbian couple being featured.

A spokesperson for Starbucks, however, insists the new design of Christmas cups, launching tomorrow for a limited time, was always planned.

“The new red cup is one of the many surprises we’ve had in store for our customers this holiday season, in addition to the Christmas cups launched earlier this month,” the spokesperson told The Independent.

“There have always been two cups planned for this holiday season. The holiday cup design process – including the new red holiday cup – started in January of this year.”

The new design features a white heart framed by two hands coming together. It is intended to celebrate “the good in each other and across communities.”

“This year, we intentionally designed our cups so our customers can interpret them in their own way,” Starbucks added.

The Cheer for Good initiative will see £150,000 donated to local causes that sit at the heart of the communities that Starbucks serves. They also invite the public to “cheer” on social media for top grants of £2,000.

The new cups are launching on November 29 in the UK and around the world, however Starbucks has not confirmed for how long they will be available.

Starbucks is continuing its partnership with online platform, which connects charities and local projects with helpful people, food surplus or financial donations.

Supporters can get behind their local charities and ‘cheer’ on Twitter using the hashtag #CheerforGood with the charity’s Twitter handle from 29 November until midnight on 20 December 2017.

The top 30 charities whose supporters ‘cheer’ the loudest will receive a top grant of £2,000, with all charities receiving £500 for taking part.

Commenting on the launch, Simon Redfern, vice president communications at Starbucks Europe, Middle East and Africa, said: “This Christmas we want to help raise the profile of some of the UK’s small charities who do vital work in their local neighbourhoods.

“The charities taking part in Cheer for Good this Christmas are close to our hearts and the whole company is about to get its cheer on and raise some serious noise for these great causes.”

To find out which charity is taking part near you, click here.