It’s beginning to look not enough like Christmas…

By Brand Heeler

An unnecessary political intervention on Christmas branded coffee cups

So, well, it’s only November and the whiff of woodsmoke and gunpowder is still hanging in the damp autumnal UK air but get your sleighbells out because, according to both Fleet Street and the High Street, it’s OFFICIALLY CHRISTMAS ALREADY!!!!!!!!! Annoying, isn’t it? Some shops are so confused they’ve still got their Zombie Brains Halloween Candy Bites out alongside their Happy Santa Reindeer Chocoballs.

And now, to add to it all, an MP has managed to manufacture a complete ‘political correctness gone mad’ non-story out of Starbucks apparently hating Christmas. Starbucks (no stranger to brand controversy themselves) have had the temerity to issue festive paper cups in a uniform shade of red. And, er, that’s it. Nothing else. Quite literally nothing else, which is why the pollie in question is so irate and has been calling for the ‘idiot’ designer to be ‘sacked’. You see, apparently Starbucks have failed to refer to Christmas at all in their seasonal redesign. It’s especially distressing that there’s a lack of snowmen and snowflakes, those time-honoured symbols of the Christian faith… Clearly this is an attack on Christianity itself (as the usual suspects have been quick to suggest)!

Except, of course, that Starbucks have referenced Christmas: Christmas is one of the few festivals of any sort with its own brand identity, even its own colour scheme. It’s a good start that Starbucks’ own house colours are green and white but add a merry ho-ho-ho red and – bless my figgy pudding! – you’ve got Christmas! When did it become compulsory to add reindeer (not a species indigenous to Roman-era Palestine) or stars (even that star is only attested in one out of four Gospels) to every last ephemeron of the trivial secular spendfest that is the modern Most Wonderful Time of the Year™? Is there no room for simple design values?

We’re not sure where Starbucks are supposed to draw the decorative line. Where should they stand on holly leaves? Are poinsettias permitted? Should there be mandatory minimum glitter per article? Does Parliament wish to see every lily gilded, every mulled wine overspiced? Should the Infant Saviour be depicted on a one-use, valueless receptacle destined for landfill or recycling? Personally, we like the quiet, sophisticated understatement of the red cup. Actually, in this instance, we wholeheartedly support Starbucks, and we never thought we’d find ourselves saying that!

This article contains our thoughts and opinions on an issue of general interest and is written from the perspective of Australian and/or English law. It is not legal advice and is not provided in the context of a solicitor-client relationship. It may not even be relevant to your jurisdiction. No duty of care is assumed or accepted. Please carry out appropriate research and consult with a suitably qualified legal expert before taking any action or making any decisions.

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