(NEXSTAR) – TikTok’s favorite graphic designer is helping Panera put the “ugly” in its “Ugly Holiday Cup Collection” this season.
“We’re so excited to do something different from the rest this year with our 2021 Ugly Holiday Cup Collection launch in collaboration with TikTok sensation, Emily Zugay” said Eduardo Luz, Panera’s Chief Brand & Concept Officer.
Luz said they chose to work with Emily Zugay to remind guests that it’s “what’s on the inside — the gift of unlimited, premium Panera coffee — that matters most.”
“Panera approached me to do a paid collaboration a bit after my satirical graphic design content began to take off,” Zugay told Nexstar. “I love Panera and loved the idea that they pitched to me, so I couldn’t turn it down. Something about being able to put a goofy twist on the holiday cups definitely appealed to me!”
Zugay, who went viral with her hilarious critiques of famous logos, posted the first of her satirical videos to TikTok in September. Her deadpan delivery — coupled with her rather unique design suggestions — made her an instant success. Some national brands, including McDonald’s, even changed their social media branding to reflect her designs … at least temporarily.
“I wasn’t expecting it to blow up the way it did,” she said. “I had about 500,000 followers at that time and was expecting maybe 100,000 people to see it, at most. It exceeded my expectations and I have had a great time rolling with the concept. It’s opened a lot of new doors for me!”
Zugay is a 2019 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Stout with a BFA in entertainment design.
“Using knowledge of design ‘do’s and don’ts’ helps me to make a design as bad as possible while being intentional about it so that it delivers well,” she said.
For Panera’s holiday cup collection, Zugay created four different satirical designs. She tapped into her TikTok persona to provide Nexstar with a description of each one.
“First, we have the Snowflake Cup design. It’s a classic. It’s covered with carefully rendered snowflakes and I labeled each one so people know they’re snowflakes. You’ve probably heard that every snowflake is different and beautiful in its own way. Kind of like me. I’d choose to be the snowflake in the middle because it’s special.”
“Second, we have the Snowman Cup design. I turned it into a game. There are eight different snowmen and you have to find the difference in each snowman’s appearance. I wanted people to have endless hours of fun while sipping on their tasty Panera coffee.”
“Third, we have my Classic Holiday Cup design. It contains all of the aspects of the holidays that everybody loves, like a candy cane, a gingerbread man, and coffee beans underneath the tree. ‘Wholesome’ and ‘beautiful’ are two words I’d use to describe it.”
“Last but certainly not least, we have the ‘Raindeer’ Cup design. I’ve included beloved and well-known reindeer figures such as Vicky and Dance. I studied the anatomy of reindeer to a T for this one. I wanted to make sure they look as realistic as possible and I think I knocked it out of the park.”
Coffee lovers can enter for a chance to win a set of the limited run of Panera’s reusable “Ugly Holiday Cups” at PaneraUglyHolidayCups.com now through Dec. 6.