Dakarai Turner

The Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino – Fall for the Hype

April 25, 2017

On April 19th, Starbucks released the “Unicorn Frappuccino“. Essentially it’s a super colourful and syrup filled drink perfectly fit for social media. This limited edition beverage is only available from April 19-23 at participating stores in North America. I’m sure we all had relatively the same experience last Wednesday; Constant Snapchats and Instagram posts of our friends and celebrity figures trying out this drink. I have friends that don’t even typically go to Starbucks that must have been hit with some intense FOMO, since they couldn’t resist posting Snapchat stories of themselves drinking the colourful combination.

I think this is an example of a next to perfect product launch, and here’s why

  • Give the people what they want 

First and foremost, Starbucks identified that there was a trend of unicorn-themed food and drinks on social media (who knew?). As a result of this they created a product that was visually appealing and would simply act as an extension and alternative to all of the other Starbucks beverage images plastered over social media on a regular basis. I mean, I’m sure we’ve all seen our fair share of images posted from friends with their name written incorrectly on the cup. Classic.

  • Making a limited edition product creates urgency

Although opinions of the drink were fairly mixed, it didn’t really matter. It was one of those things that you could be told it doesn’t taste good but you want to try it for yourself to be a part of the conversation. You can’t say the drink is terrible unless you’ve actually tried it. It also goes without saying that the simple fact that it was a limited edition item helped contribute to this way of thinking. You had to try it and you had to try it right way before it was too late.

  • The Snapchat Filter

The coffee company created several Snapchat filters in promotion of the new Unicorn Frappuccino. This included transforming users into unicorns and their surroundings into a pink and blue wonderland, as well as filters with the drink itself. This was how I was made aware of its sheer popularity and I’m sure that was the case for many people as well. Of course Twitter users had to voice their opinions on this.

Will these three things work for every brand? Absolutely not. This worked for Starbucks because of the nature of the product. It is unlike anything out there right now and it came from one of the biggest coffee companies in North America. The Unicorn Frappuccino is tailor made for Instagram and this was surely the purpose. Instagram has been looking quite colourful these last few days and Starbucks couldn’t be happier. It will be interesting to see how well the new frappuccino has sold over the course of 4 days, and whether or not Starbuck’s repeats this strategy with another unique product down the road.

Did you guys give the drink a try? Let us know below!


Dakarai is an ambitious professional with a passion for advertising and marketing, and is currently employed as an account coordinator for an ad agency in Toronto. When he’s not at the office, he’s most likely trying out a new restaurant, browsing AdWeek, or binge watching something on Netflix. Dakarai, but you can call him Dak. Follow him on TwitterInstagram, and connect with him on LinkedIn.

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