Unicorn Starbucks Drink Reflects Social Power
Crowdsourcing a product from social media trends may seem like an iffy proposition, but Starbucks is betting on it starting today. The “Unicorn Frappuccino blended beverage” not only looks like a rainbow, but changes flavors when stirred — like the magic the public expects. And, as the brand’s product announcement reflects, social media users are going crazy for meme-mirroring foods.
Starbucks: We're gonna make a unicorn drink 🦄
All Deephers: pic.twitter.com/DMaZuaXWpq
— LOCO ❣ (@jalia_london) April 16, 2017
Ready for Starbucks' new Unicorn Frappic.twitter.com/XcfSvZsizh
— Ryan Satin (@ryansatin) April 14, 2017
Peak unicorn achieved: Starbucks New Color Changing Unicorn Frappuccino https://t.co/3DnIPyTsOV
— Sarah Perez (@sarahintampa) April 18, 2017
But It’s Starbucks
When Starbucks makes a move, brands pay attention. But can other brands drive crowds as wild as the beverage retailing giant may with this trend-sourced product?
A CIO contributor thinks so.
As far back as 2014, Jennifer Lonoff Schiff was saying crowdsourcing products could boost brands and foster customer loyalty.
"Crowdsourcing (and Kickstarter) is a lean startup founder's dream, because it allows you to do development and build a fan base before ever investing in a physical product," she quotes of Ricky Choi, cofounder, Nice Laundry, which sells and recycles socks.
"We wanted validation that people would actually buy what we were selling,” Choi continues. “Additionally, we were able to establish exactly what demand looked like: We knew how many socks people wanted and the distribution of the various patterns we offered." Choi says.
The result: "The campaign broke a fashion Kickstarter opening day record and generated about $120,000 in four weeks from over 2,000 customers, proving there was something special about our idea."
What Are They Thinking at Starbucks?
Unicorns and bright colors make people happy — not just kids. And they will buy things that make them happy, writes Nicole Lyn Pesce of Money-ish.
Marketers in every space — from auto marketing to travel and hospitality advertising — have been saying that the new theme in brand-building is marketing the customer experience.
So does an established trend.
Pesce says consumers are already on board with the unicorn and rainbow-colored marketing.
“Apparently,” she writes, “tastes haven’t changed much for nostalgic adult babies missing their 80s and 90s-era Lisa Frank school supplies crawling with pink, purple and turquoise unicorns,” she writes. “Lisa Frankenfoods have flooded blogs and social media feeds with celestial blue galaxy doughnuts, sea green mermaid toast and indigo unicorn noodles.”
From Mermaid Toast to Galaxy Donuts to Unicorn Noodles. A guide to the new multicolored food fads - https://t.co/iqTZUNNDhR
— wasserstrom (@wasserstrom) April 14, 2017
“From colorful hot chocolate to cookies, unicorn-themed beverages and food have been a hit on social media for some time,” according to Tuesday’s article titled, “People Are Freaking Out Over Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino.”
Starbucks is also playing on the FOMO principle: The rainbow beverage is available from today until April 23 — as supplies last.
And the product’s backstory is playing into the meme.
“Once only found in enchanted forests, unicorns have been popping up in social media with shimmering unicorn-themed food and drinks,” reads the product announcement.
Plus, the beverage description reads like the trend-watchers’ posts:
“Like its mythical namesake, the Unicorn Frappuccino blended crème comes with a bit of magic, starting as a purple beverage with swirls of blue and a first taste that is sweet and fruity. But give it a stir and its color changes to pink, and the flavor evolves to tangy and tart. The more swirl, the more the beverage’s color and flavors transform.”
What do you think, marketers?
Please respond in the comments section below.