The Frappuccino that Took Over Social Media

By: Shannon Williams

Last week it was next to impossible to open up any social media platform including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and many more without seeing Starbucks newest blue and pink creation (abomination?) all over your feed. The Unicorn Frappuccino, the drink no one knew they ever needed or wanted, but ended up buying, even though it was kind of gross, just to get the pictures for social media purposes.

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(Starbucks)

Esteemed food critic Anthony Bourdain offered his opinion on the beverage Wow, that’s like four things I hate all in one sentence: Starbucks, unicorns, and the colors pink and purple. Also a Frappuccino! It’s the perfect nexus of awfulness. Just add pumpkin spice to that mix, and you can nuke the whole county.”. While this view is shared by many the drink was still received as an astronomical marketing success for Starbucks.

The pure purpose of the drink was to generate attention for the brand. Which it did with flying colors. The drink capitalized on two things, the internets current obsession with unicorns and customers impulses to share images of their food and beverages across social media.

Fans of the drink were turned in to a social media army, garnering Starbucks millions of dollars worth of free publicity and attention. The drink is classified as a “stunt food”, being specifically designed to generate attention. Offering outlandish options is becoming an increasingly popular trend for chain restaurants to generate online buzz.

Even though the drink sold out early in many places and is officially off the menu its memory still lives on and Starbucks is still benefiting from it. Creative baristas have since developed the  Dragon Frappuccino, and the Unicorn Lemonade, while other creative minds have been so inspired they have created hairstyles.

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(Mashable, USA Today, BuzzFeed)

Wang, C. (2017). Unicorn frappucinos are dead. Long live dragon frappuccinos. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2017/04/26/dragon-frappuccino/#Jeal1iEAzsqZ

May, A. (2017). Move over Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino, we now have a unicorn lemonade. Retrieved from https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/04/25/move-over-unicorn-frappuccino-starbucks-just-gave-us-unicorn-lemonade/100874534/

Strapagiel, L. (2017). This Woman Created Unicorn Frappuccino Hair And It Looks Delicious. Retrieved from https://www.buzzfeed.com/laurenstrapagiel/unicorn-frapp-hair?utm_term=.wcPgzzbOE#.sbz7pp1wO

Kulp, P. (2017) Starbucks’ Unicorn Frappuccino is the latest example of how social media makes chains get weird. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2017/04/23/starbucks-unicorn-frappuccino-chains-instagram-bait/#wbiT2a87zmqH

Kline, D. (2017). Starbucks has mastered social media with the Unicorn Frappuccino. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/starbucks-has-mastered-social-media-with-the-unicorn-frappuccino-2017-4

Morabito, G. (2017). Anthony Bourdain Calls the Unicorn Frappuccino the ‘Perfect Nexus of Awfulness’. Retrieved from http://www.eater.com/2017/4/24/15405976/anthony-bourdain-unicorn-frappuccino

 

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UNT Eagle Strategies

Class members of the social media class in the Mayborn School of Journalism