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Posted in Trending Topics on 14th November 2015

The real winner in Starbucks red-cup controversy

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This week Starbucks red cup controversy should become a future MBA case study about how things can get into the subconscious of consumers. Without spending a dime on advertising, PR or even lifting a cup, Starbucks has made his mark in the conversation of nearly every American.

Facebook, Twitter, presidential candidates, celebrities, artists, even the passive couch potatoes all right to have an opinion – good or bad – why Starbucks was or was not the Grinch who stole Christmas. If you believe Google, it is now 9200000 news about the “Starbucks red cup controversy.” This is a lot of free publicity.

There is an old cliché © among entrepreneurs that all publicity is good publicity, but what about when customers threaten to boycott your product? Is it still good publicity?

All publicity is not always good publicity, but in this case – even with this threatened boycott – it’s a pure PR coup for Starbucks. It is the lightning in a bottle.

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He’s at a rally in Illinois, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump weighs in on the controversy Starbucks and red cups of coffee


She crisis communication team can be in turmoil trying to manage “the story” and their finance team can determine how it will impact quarterly profit, but as Demi Lovato so eloquently Tweeted, “Why do we care about this lot a cup …. ?? “

This Starbucks red cup controversy is not over Christmas or publicity. It is about tapping into a memory that we all crave. Whether you are Christian, Muslim, Buddhist or agnostic, we all live on memories. This is why we document our children’s lives and write stories. We want to remember what we did yesterday. It is at the root of a successful brand connection.

In our small office, trying to remember what our team looks like last year, Starbucks Christmas cup.

Does the “Merry Christmas” on it? Does the snowflakes? Was there a snowman? Because everyone associates with Christmas snow.

No one remembers.

But in a month or a year from now, will remind everyone in our office that Starbucks conversation – and it is the beauty of this divine line PR coup.

In the world of PR, I say to potential customers is always a PR machine behind the biggest publicity campaigns that get into our subconscious. But in this situation, I seriously doubt Starbucks has to take the vision, conviction and courage on Christmas. I suspect no one in corporate saw coming. I doubt the red cup controversy was born in a PR room.

What Starbucks must now does the world on fire on a red cup?

Absolutely nothing.

Just sit back and watch the rest of America debate and discussion about why we love or hate this new red head. And just when the debate on that next week will be, I would bet Starbucks management will be smart enough to create a new holiday-themed cup not argue. And not because Starbucks will spawn one who believes in Christ.

It will make a new holiday coffee cup because people walk Starbucks is smart. She knows the importance of relevant and to remain in the conversation. But unfortunately for Starbucks, lightning rarely strike twice in the same place. The next red head showdown will be a little PR genius to us twice fooled.

Comments by Mark Macías, head of PR Macías, a global public relations firm that media and branding campaigns have run for politics, technology start-ups, financial corporations, non-profits and businesses. He is also the author of the book, “Beat the Press:. Your Guide to the management of the Media” Follow him on Twittermarkmacias.

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