Brewing Up Holiday Brand Shaming

Holiday red Starbucks cups? No Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving at Nordstrom? Just shoot me now, because the world is ending.

Today’s American society has turned the 2015 holiday season into a PR crisis for multiple brands and it’s barely even begun.

CTdMZjGWwAUvKg8Nordstrom released a notice, in-store and online, earlier this week that they would not be decorating for the holiday season until Thanksgiving has ended. It reads: “We won’t be decking our halls until Friday, November 27. Why? Well, we just like the idea of celebrating one holiday at a time. From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving.”

A lot of people embraced this idea, congratulating Nordstrom on fighting against the “Christmas Creep” that some believe ruins the season’s cheer by starting too early. Others argue that this is just outrageously un-holiday like. This sign and the debate went viral, yet little did people know, in the history of Nordstrom’s 100-year life, they have never decorated before Thanksgiving.

So why is this now such an issue? We are seeing what I deem, “holiday brand shaming” so often, and not only with Nordstrom but with other brands as well, like Starbucks.
large_Starbucks-Red-Cups-2015Starbucks has been under a social media firestorm since releasing their new holiday cup design, a solid ombre red to cranberry. While the company, and many consumers, say it is a simplistic and holiday-neutral cup, many are calling the cups a war on Christmas and campaigning against the brand. Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 8.43.50 AM

In fact, the controversy has even let Starbucks’ competitors take advantage of the “lack of design” to attract attention. As seen to the right, Dunkin Donuts released “holiday-heavy” cups in contrast.

The Starbucks team, acted like the professional powerhouse they are, and quickly began implementing a plan to save customers – and honestly they hit right where it matters. They embraced the “giving behavior” induced by holidays and are offering buy one, get one free drinks for a limited time with a campaign titled “Cheers to Being Together.” See the online campaign below:

Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 8.57.27 AMScreen Shot 2015-11-13 at 8.57.41 AM

Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 8.57.59 AM

So Cronkite friends, what should companies do this season? Give in to the Christmas Creep or stand in neutrality and seasonal control?

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1 Response to Brewing Up Holiday Brand Shaming

  1. Megan Brown says:

    First off, the Nordstrom public announcement was hilarious, witty and I can’t believe I hadn’t seen it sooner. The “Christmas Creep” is a very real concern for many people every year when November 1 rolls around. For some reason, people have this idea that Christmas begins the moment Halloween ends. I applaud companies like Nordstrom who resist the temptation for early sales and packed aisles and wish more would take action again the impending two-month long holiday. Honestly, I’m usually over Christmas before it even begins. I think it would actually be beneficial for companies to hold off on celebrating early, and it would be an interesting experiment to see if it improves or hinders those holiday profits. Then again, if that happens, people will be up-in-arms for it definitely means those companies abhor Christmas and are full-fledged Satanic worshippers…cause that totally makes sense.

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