THE CUP OF JOE EFFECT! What’s with the coffee mugs already?

Have you noticed that with just about every social media post, people are holding cute unicorn mugs, rhinestone encrusted Starbucks Cups and steaming hot symbols of success. How did this become a thing? You could argue that the cup is a status symbol. If you can afford $7 for a cup of coffee, then you are someone I should know. Let’s look at this from a marketing POV.  

Some social media stars post every photo with their cups. You see this trend throughout social media. Mostly, fashion poses with the latest outfits follow this rule of joe. If I hold a cup of Starbucks coffee in every shot with a perfect outfit, I HAVE ARRIVED PEOPLE! I call this “The Cup of Joe Effect” phenomenon. 

 Almost any truly trendy photo on Instagram has people holding cups of joe, champagne, rose, water bottles, but mostly Starbucks coffee cups. This image takes you to your happy place. A moment in time when you are alone, you hear the crackling fire, you snuggle in your soft fluffy blanket and your favorite Hugh Grant rom-com is playing while it’s raining outside. Are you there with me?  

Emotions of love, comfort, success, and popularity often are represented by a favorite beverage. A time machine that takes you unconsciously to your happy place when you see these images. The symbols that we see in social media are a suspended reality of the perfect life. All I need is a beautiful outfit, my favorite Starbucks latte and, bonus points, if you can include a baby or a puppy. 

Fun Fact, puppies and babies have the highest conversion rates on the internet. I find it fascinating to watch, almost like a marketing voyeur, who is looking through the looking glass and observing trends and everyday behavior. I look at marketing with a different lens and report back to my clients and followers. 

As a business owner, it’s so hard to see the label when you are inside the bottle. It’s incredibly important to put down your sales hat and pick up that cup of steaming hot cup of joe…Half-Caf, no whip, extra caramel, upside down pumpkin spice latte. Yes, that is my coffee order,  don’t judge. 

Here are some examples of photos with coffee mugs. 



Here are some of my own photos incorporating me holding a cup of joe. 



It’s my slice of happiness in a cup. They even write my name on the side of the cup, it’s like they know me.  I have studied The Joe Effect in marketing for over a decade. You see it everywhere online. America’s Got Talent Judges drink from sponsored cups, Hallmark movies revolve around everyone standing in a coffee shop holding a to-go mug and fashion trend setters never take a photo without a classic Starbucks cup or a glittery kitty mug. 

Especially now that the pandemic has forever changed how we customize our lives. Deliver my exact groceries to my door. Stream the Academy Awards to my living room. Watch any Olympic sporting event any time from the comfort of your living room, bathroom or any place you prefer.

How does this relate to your own business? Put your logo on a fun cup and use it in your photos. Whether it be team photos, meeting with clients or just a way to lighten up your photos for your social media. Think about creating vignettes with your business coffee mug. On or, you can get a custom cup with your company logo on it. Use that cup in as many photos as you can whether it be a group shot, or a stand alone mug all by itself. 

Here are some examples of a photoshoot we did for




We ordered custom t-shirts, mugs, signs and stickers to make the shoot hyper personal. 

Using cups in your marketing is an easy way to create fresh new content. Be creative, have fun and think about what can I use in my website and social media to convey friendliness and connection just like sitting down having a cup of joe. 

If you are interested in learning more about how we can help you use the link below to book your FREE hour call with me Book Heather Lutze: Empowering Businesses To Dominate Online!

One Comments “THE CUP OF JOE EFFECT! What’s with the coffee mugs already?

  1. Hi Heather,
    Actually you’re missing over half the effect. Anyone can slap a sticker on a machine made mug, or silk screen a cute saying, but for real class in holding that $7 cup of coffee, you could go out and find a handmade mug, just for you. Looks like yours ight be with the upside down handle, but there’s some really neat work out there. (Someone should start a handmade only website.)

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