May 12

It started with a tweet… #artcups

Branding, Marketing


20140501.1 LC artcupEver since a random tweet led to CubeSocial’s first breakthrough, I have encouraged start-ups and professionals to embrace the serendipity of social media.

What do I mean by this? Having just translated the Russian headline “Работник лондонского Starbucks стал знаменитостью благодаря рисункам на стаканчиках” into English (London Starbucks employee becomes a celebrity thanks to cup drawings), let me explain by reference to Gabriel Nkweti Lafitte’s amazing #artcups

A couple of weeks ago, a friend that I’ve been encouraging to tweet more often let me know that that she was back on the case:image

… then shared her first photo on Twitter:image

A couple of tweets later, I was being introduced to the artist:image

When I clicked through to Gabriel’s Twitter account, I couldn’t see a bio:image

… but did notice this older tweet on his timeline, which led to a conversation about how social media could help: image

As we chatted I learned that Gabriel had “been doing this for years. Can’t help myself. I NEED to draw or write” and that his intricate cups could “take around 12 to 40 hours”…
I HAD to let others know:image   image

Seconds later, I received a number of replies in rapid succession, including:imageimageimage

Richard kept that promise Smile 

Over the next couple of days, Richard widened the conversation to include Simon Redfern, Director of Communications at Starbucks (some tweets, mostly offline).

Less than two weeks after those first tweets, Gabriel’s first piece of press:image

… which trended above Banksy on the day (and is currently at 3.4k shares):20140508 Metro

Gabriel’s #artcups have since caught the attention of BuzzFeed, the Ellen Degeneres Show, Epicurious, GizmoDiva, Starbucks Newsroom… the list just keeps on growing…

Of course, none of this would be possible without Gabriel’s talent – but it’s nonetheless amazing to think that all this coverage can be traced back to a single tweet!

#joiningthedots: you can tweet with Gabriel @_nkweti and via #artcup and #artcups. To see more of Gabriel’s work take a peek at his Facebook page 
… and I’ve just received a tweet about his new website going live today Smile

Now go, and embrace the serendipity of social media for yourself!


In the last few days, #artcups have appeared on the Huffington Post, in Canada, Malaysia, Peru, MexicoFrench, Italian, Spanish, Dutch… but still no news about Gabriel’s work appearing on ceramics. If you would like see ceramic #artcups, please add your support below. If we can get all your comments in one place, hopefully powers that be will recognise and respond to the demand soon!image

About the author 

Linda Cheung

Advising innovative companies on marketing and growth strategies. Founder at CubeSocial, Advisor at Oxford Innovation, Board member at Enterprise M3, Mentor at SETsquared.

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  1. Beautiful cups! Hope Gabriel gets to make personalised ceramic ones with international delivery – I’ll be first in line for a large order!

      1. Hopefully the powers that be will listen and respond to the demand… wonderful to see that the website’s live – nice work!

    1. Thanks for #joiningthedots across from Facebook Shantha – I’ve let Simon Redfern know about your comment via Twitter 🙂

    1. Hopefully Starbucks will think ceramics are no-brainer too 🙂 Nice work on sending the tweet that all this coverage can be traced back to!

  2. Just goes to show the power of Twitter and social media in general. With enough traction who knows where Gabriel’s #artcups might end up. Starbucks need to partner with a ceramics company & transfer his wonder works of art into something lasting and special!

    paper cups = ceramic art = things of beauty !

    Janet Bebb

    Social Progress Ltd


    1. Who knows indeed… Gabriel mentioned interest from the Washington Post last night, and I have just received tweets from Richard saying that there’s been coverage in Peru, Mexico and Canada this morning! Thanks for being one of the first to join the #artcups conversation on Twitter and Facebook Janet 🙂

  3. Come on Starbucks get on board, this artwork is AMAZING and would be a wonderful addition to your now rather bland cups! I think you should bring Gabriel aboard as a cup artist, with his amazing talent and already so much interest I know he would be an asset to the company. I know I am currently looking into a cup for myself!!!!!!

    1. AHHH, no more cups for Gabriel to do art on so an order for myself is not in the stars unless Starbucks opens the doors for him and I know I would certainly be one of the first to make a purchase!!!! Starbucks, what are you waiting for???????

  4. I think Starbucks should make a series of your cups and allow customers to buy them. Your artwork is beautiful!

    1. Thank you Alissa for sayong that, it’s lovely. Indeed, i’d even be the first to buy them 😉

  5. What an ideal use for Kickstarter if Starbucks don’t want to progress it officially! A crowdfunding campaign would gain commitment and cash to get #artcups into production. Glazed ceramic can be written on with appropriate pens, so a selection of designs made up onto glazed ceramic travel mugs with a space left clear for the name would make an ideal solution to market demand. Lots of companies can do short run print digitally to progress a prototype too. But if I was Starbucks product director I’d be getting my suppliers of these,en_GB,pd.html?start=6&navid=search# to start looking into ways of getting a nice selection of Gabriel’s lovely designs on there complete with space for baristas and customers to write names.

    1. Thanks for sharing your sector specialist knowledge Tracey 🙂 Fingers crossed that Starbucks will progress officially… fantastic Plan B at the ready if they don’t!

  6. Such an amazing artist ! We would your drawings on ceramic ! Hope that Starbucks will think about that !

  7. Starbucks… please make these design cups!!! .. it will sell out like hot cakes!!
    Stop all the boring design you have in shop now…

  8. OK Starbucks, these need to be on ceramic!! Total collector’s item and wayyyy cool! That way, if we aren’t lucky enough to be in London, then we can still order or buy them. Way too artistic and nice to be thrown out or ruined after 1 use!

  9. Such a beautiful idea…and such beautiful designs. Gabriel really deserves so much recognition for what he does, but it would be even better if he could receive a little money too, through the sale of ceramic versions of his cups 😉 I hope that this will happen 🙂

  10. His artwork is gorgeous and it should be displayed all over the world. I would love it if I could have at least I’ve of his beautiful artwork in a ceramic cup. 😉 And it should benefit Sweet George too.

  11. Hi, These are awesome creation, and artist is also amazing. While I am surfing on the web for art cups I found illy art collection is part of illy sustianart which have an extraordinary collection of art-cup. Thanks…. Keep sharing creative and amazing information…..

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