It’s no secret that visually appealing photos are reposted and shared on social media more than any other type of content. Our brain processes visual content easier and faster than text, which is why visuals are being shared 40% (pictures, videos, infographics) more than any other type of content. Add a little unicorn magic to the mix and you get a social media masterpiece.

In case you have been living under a rock the past 2 weeks, Starbucks introduced its first new frappuccino flavor of the year, inspired by the popular unicorn-themed food and drinks you see all over social media. Some say the sweet and salty combination tastes delicious; others weren’t too fond of the sickly taste, such as Katy Perry who wasn’t afraid to share her experience on Snapchat. Regardless of how the frappuccino tasted, our digital media agency will explain why this is a great example of how to create a huge buzz around a product without an excessive campaign budget.

Why the #UnicornFrappuccino was so popular on social media

First of all, the frappuccino was exclusively available from April 19-23. This meant customers had to hurry and get the drink within the five days it was being sold in the US, Canada and Mexico only. Similar to Coachella’s clever digital marketing strategy, everyone had serious #FoMo or fear of missing out and wanted to add this visually appealing drink to their Instagram pages. Pictures of the whimsical drink were shared over 150.000 times on Instagram with the hashtag alone. Twitter blew-up with tweets about the Unicorn Frappuccino and Starbucks retweeted and interacted with the thousands of fans. This was exactly the sense of urgency and kind of buzz they wanted to create with this exclusive limited time only drink offer.

Even some of Starbucks’s own baristas had a thing or two to say about the Unicorn Frappuccino. Braden Burson was one of Starbucks employees that was not afraid to share his thoughts and vent in a video that went viral. In this video he explains “I have never made so many frappuccinos,” My hands are completely sticky, I have unicorn crap all in my hair and in my nose, and I have never been so stressed out in my entire life.” Even though Braden isn’t exactly raving about the frappuccino in this video, it still remained an excellent piece of publicity falling perfectly in line with what Starbucks was after.

It doesn’t taste as great as it looks

There were definitely some fans and some haters on social media. Some said it tasted just fine, others claimed it was the worst drink they ever tasted in their life. But again, the endless debates on whether or not the drink tasted heavenly or if it was the worst frappucino ever, contributed to the success of the overall ‘campaign’.

Important takeaways

Clearly, the fact that this frappuccino was so visually pleasing was an ingenious marketing strategy on its own. Adding the unicorn theme, which is already so popular on social media, made for an amazing marketing campaign. People will post anything they find visually pleasing over and over again. In our opinion, this campaign clearly demonstrates huge marketing budgets are not always necessary; just some smart thinking and some pink glitter.

About iRISEmedia is a Toronto based social marketing agency, specializing in online reputation management and social media management. Our team helps clients monitor and improve their online reputation and branding.

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