Have Your Frappuccino® However-You-Want-It

Sometimes, even the biggest of brands need to go back to the drawing board in order to stay current and keep their customers happy.   Last Tuesday, May 4th, Starbucks launched a new campaign to revitalize its Frappuccino brand.  According to the Seattle Times, “sales of its sugary Frappuccino drinks have been sluggish, and the company wants to juice them up with new ingredients and a big marketing push.” The “Express Your Love” campaign promotes custom-made Frappucinos with higher quality ingredients and the ability to select a milk (skim, soy, whole or two percent), add more coffee, or add any combination of favorite flavored syrups like toffee nut or mocha.  Brandweek also states that, “the campaign comes as Starbucks tries to grow sales of its priciest drinks.”  During times of economic certainty, luxuries such as coffee beverages are often first to be cut, so this is an excellent way to express gratitude to loyal fans and new customers alike.

According to Brandweek.com, the effort, which also spans social media and digital ads on sites like Meebo, Yahoo!, Pandora, Flickr, and even an online make-your-own-video contest using clips from Starbucks and the TV show “Gossip Girl,” is one of the “biggest yet for Starbucks, which has traditionally spent very little on advertising.”   All ads, conveying the tagline “however you want it” will lead to the microsite, Frappuccino.com, where they can create their own frozen drink and engage in an innovative and unique brand experience.

Alex Wheeler, Director of Digital Strategy at Starbucks, spoke about the new campaign last week at the social media conference, Blogwell Seattle.  Alex stressed the importance of providing value to the customer and building communities.  She described the large existing community of Frappuccino lovers, including over 1,868,032 fans on Facebook and almost 3,500 followers on Twitter.  This admiration for the ice blended drinks provided great insight to Starbucks about their customers.  Utilizing insight from current fans (taken from a poll sent out), the coffee giant focused on building a community where fans and customers could join in on the experience and engage with the brand.  The campaign was inspired by the dedicated Frappuccino following, though Alex stressed the balance of maintaining existing relationships and acquiring new customers.

The site has 4 main category tabs, several sub-tabs, video capabilities along with “sharing” tools (including Facebook Open Graph) to help give the user an integrated brand experience.  Aesthetically, the design is young and fresh which caters to the brand’s younger target audience.   In particular, the section to “create your own” Frappuccino is particularly impressive and very visually appealing.  The graphics, fonts and word art are compelling and unique and the process to “build your own” frap is extremely self explanatory.  The site leverages social media quite nicely as well.  Users have the opportunity to share their recipes with others in the “community” tab along with viewing a live Twitter and Facebook feed filled with buzz surrounding Frappucinos.

Starbucks sets a great example to other big brands looking to change up their brand and stay current.  A social, personable and custom experience is the direction in which the consumer market is heading. Keeping them involved, leaning on them for insight and letting them voice their opinion is a great way to show customers that they are #1.  To celebrate the launch, Starbucks is offering “Happy Hour” until May 16th where customers can enjoy half priced Fraps from 3pm – 5pm.   What are you waiting for?  Customize your Frap today!

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