You know a trend has gone mainstream when major consumer brands jump on the bandwagon. Piggybacking on Instagram’s popular unicorn trend, Starbucks is today debuting a limited-edition Unicorn Frappuccino – a hot-pink concoction of mango syrup, “pink powder,” and “sour blue drizzle.” The brand’s social engagement surged 100% in the day following the announcement, reflecting the digital acumen that earned the café chain its Genius rank in L2’s Digital IQ Index: Beverages.
The #unicorn hashtag currently has more than 4.5 million mentions on Instagram, and given Starbucks’ focus on the platform to drive sales, a unicorn-themed drink seems like a logical step in its social strategy. Starbucks Frappuccino earns the fourth-most engagement of any Beverage brand account on Instagram thanks to frequent posts featuring both barista-brewed coffees and bottled ready-to-drink products. As Instagram becomes a mobile video platform to rival Snapchat, the brand has been a leader in rolling out video content, generating 17 million views during the study period. Tapping into Instagram trends like #unicorn could help the retailer surge ahead of competitors.
Starbucks also stands out with regards to targeting, an area where the Unicorn Frappuccino could be an effective test case. The brand already leverages loyalty program data to send personalized offers tied to consumers’ purchasing behavior. For example, someone who buys a chai latte every morning but never gets food might receive an email promising a discounted breakfast sandwich. Similarly, if someone buys a Unicorn Frappuccino, the odds are good that customer will also want to try Starbucks’ next trendy concoction.