By Tt Shinkan
Last week, Starbucks introduced the world to the Unicorn Frappuccino and within a day it created online buzz with thousands of Instagram posts. So I made it my mission to set out and attain the colorful drink for myself so I can see what this “buzz” was all about. Just a day after the drink came out, the campus Starbucks had run out of ingredients under the intense demand for the frappucino.
When the drink first came out, I only ever saw it on my Twitter and Instagram feeds. I had no idea that this drink was being released, but once it had, there were no less than six articles on Buzzfeed about it. When looking at the sugary drink, I can understand why people would want to snap a picture with it. It’s aesthetically pleasing. The purple and pink remind me of grape and strawberry nerds and the blue drizzle ties the drink together. It gives off a Disney vibe, which appeals to almost everyone. People love colorful products; it’s glamour makes for a good Instagram post. This type of marketing strategy is the perfect way to get customers into a business to purchase their products since most people want to show the world the beautifully colored drink they bought.
Another appealing aspect of the drink is the name, “Unicorn Frappuccino”. No other coffee chain has a drink named after a mythical animal. When someone says the name “Unicorn Frappuccino”, you’re instantly going to wonder what exactly it tastes like. Is it fruity? Does it taste like vanilla? What exactly does a unicorn taste like? Also, Starbucks has the stereotype of being the basic Millennial hangout coffee shop, so introducing yet another Frappuccino with an appealing name is sure to spark some interest.
Promotions like this actually helps Starbucks. They’ll have these “special” drinks for only a limited time and then discontinue them. Once the drink has gained a following, Starbucks is more than likely to bring it back, like my favorite, the s’mores Frappuccino, or the ever popular Pumpkin Spice Latte. The latter has brought in almost $80 million a year and sold more than 200 million since it was first introduced in 2003.
Starbucks executives know that by slapping “limited time” on a drink, they are guaranteed to bring in more money. Humans have an instinct that if they see something as “limited edition” or “limited time”, they view that product as more valuable. Yale studies have shown that in order for someone to make a choice, a seller will often put a time restraint on a product to get the customer to purchase it as fast as possible. This marketing strategy can even create a high demand for that product and might even result in a company bringing it back.
Circled in pink you can see a spike in Starbuck’s stock the day of the Unicorn Frappucino’s release
Now the flavor of the drink is supposed to taste like Sweet Tarts, but since I haven’t tried it, I don’t have an answer to the question. The people who’ve tried it, however, had mixed reactions. Some love it, describing the flavor as sour and after a while it changes to sweet. Then there are those who hate it and say that the flavor is too sugary and chemically. Well, it seems that not everyone hated it since most Starbucks are sold out of the drink nationwide and Starbucks’s stocks are skyrocketing because of it. I’m sure Starbucks intended to create a drink that would not only bring in non-coffee drinkers, but a younger consumer demographic as well.
Another interesting bit I must mention is the fact that baristas hate making the colorful Frappuccino. They’ve said that the drink is time-consuming and very complicated to make. Not to mention it also creates a mess in the process.
With the success of the “Unicorn Frappuccino”, it’s only a matter of time until Starbucks releases their next drink, but will it be worthy of a selfie?
Daley is a Telecommunications (Video Production) major who also minors in Japanese. Through Byte she does graphic design, video editing, podcast hosting, visual effects, and most importantly writing. Daley does this through the scope of examining the impact pop culture has on our everyday lives.