TikTok brand mocker Emily Zugay is thoroughly enjoying her 15 minutes of fame. Now she has created a line of ugly holiday cups for Panera. They are covered with horrible clip art, distorted typography full of misspellings, and in general, awful design—which is exactly Zugay’s schtick.
But without her deadpan delivery, the joke falls short. It’s out of context. Only 125 cups will be available by contest entry at each of Panera’s 2,000-plus stores. But that means 250,000 reusable ugly cups will be in circulation—certainly not a branding avalanche, but what started as an in-joke for some could prove to be a confusing message for the uninformed.