Panera unveils Emily Zugay-designed ‘ugly holiday cups’

Panera's ‘ugly holiday cups’ designed by  Emily Zugay

The restaurant chain’s message: It’s what’s on the inside of the cup that really matters.

There’s no nice way to say this: A kindergartner probably could have created nicer designs than the ones on Panera Bread’s 2021 Holiday Cup Collection.

The four different cups, which are reusable, include images of misshapen reindeer, gingerbread men, candy canes and snowmen; along with loads of typos and fonts that make you go: Hmm?

Of course, the mastermind behind the unforgettable designs is none other than TikTok star Emily Zugay. As a reminder, back in September, she took TikTok by storm by redesigning spoof logos for brands such as as Starbucks, H&R Block, Apple, NASA, Target, TikTok, NASCAR, Tampax, The Washington Post, Ocean Spray, Tinder, Adobe, the NFL, Amazon, Doritos and McDonald’s.

Zugay created the satirical holiday cup designs to get Panera coffee drinkers in the holiday spirit this year by bringing them laughter and cheer, explained Sara Burnett, VP of food beliefs, sustainability and PR at Panera.

“Our key message in this campaign is that it’s what’s on the inside of the cup that really matters this season, which is our high-quality, great-tasting Panera coffee,” Burnett said.

Panera is using the cups to promote its MyPanera+ Coffee Subscription, which will be available for purchase via the app and website and includes two months of unlimited coffee for $15 or three months for $20.

“With all the PR fervor around holiday cup designs, we decided to take a funny twist on the typical reveal by partnering with [Zugay] to create this one-of-a-kind holiday collection,” Burnett explained.

She added that Zugay was told “not to hold back” when creating the designs.

“She certainly delivered,” Burnett said.

Like so many other brands, Zugay’s TikTok content has captured the attention of Panera. The restaurant chain decided to partner with Zugay due to her brand of humor and ability to make her fans laugh with her well-known logo redesigns, which have resonated on social media, Burnett explained.

“We knew there was no one better to bring our vision of the ultimate quirky holiday cups to life,” she said.

To promote this campaign, Panera will be using organic social and PR to generate awareness around the partnership. Zugay will be posting content on her TikTok and Instagram platforms over the course of the week to drum up some excitement among her loyal fans.

Consumers can enter for a chance to get their hands on the one-of-a-kind cups for free at from December 2-6.

Alison Brod Marketing + Communications is supporting this campaign.

Budget information was not disclosed.

The company has 2,120 bakery-cafes in 48 states and in Ontario, Canada, operating under the Panera Bread or Saint Louis Bread Co. names.

This story first appeared on PRWeek US.


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