This last week has been filled with viral videos of baristas having meltdowns after their shift at Starbucks ends. Instagram feeds are rife with photos, boomerangs and updates about the hottest purchase of the moment – The Unicorn Frappuccino, and while your caffeine loyalty or your self-respect for the amount of sugar you consume on a daily basis may have hindered your purchase of the MUST HAVE drink, there is a more alarming concern arising out of the blue and pink “fairy dust” haze. WHY is Starbucks even selling this drink?
Now, Starbucks is clearly not a destination for the health conscious. Between sugar laden frappuccino’s and the pure caffeinated liquid that fuels more nations than Weetbix and McDonalds combined*, you would be stretching the truth to call Starbucks a go-to destination for those looking to nourish their bodies. So while the nutritional content of the magical drink is not out of the ordinary for Starbucks, the lack of tea or coffee within the drink makes the Unicorn Frappuccino more of a dessert bar creation than a coffee house speciality. So how is Starbucks driving consumers to buy Unicorn Frappucinos even if they’re not a ‘Starbs’ devotee – Social Media.
The image-driven success of marketing campaigns on Instagram and Facebook are pressuring companies to stock and sell products that are visually stimulating rather than appropriate for their intended use, and in the food industry, this would be taste and satiation. Consumers are now influencing the products offered to them by making purchase choices of what is more visually appealing than suitable for their needs. Food businesses are building client bases over what is the most ‘instagrammable’ menu pick rather than what is going to taste the best. Businesses that can adapt and change to the rapid-fire trends that occur online are currently leading the way for older more established businesses. Trends that have appeared overnight, lead to terrific success for those businesses in the short term, but the novelty wears off and so the instant gratification as well as the demand drops.
The issue of fast moving consumer trends is more of an issue now than it has ever been, and digital marketing is the root cause of this industry upheaval. If digital marketers can pinpoint why these trends appear and disappear so much faster than more traditional methods they will be better equipped to influence the market in a way that benefits their interests.
So the next time you spend $8.50 on a rainbow bagel or $9 for a cup of ice-cream ask yourself if it would taste just as good if you hadn’t spent 15 minutes getting the perfect shot for Instagram.
Leave us a CO-mment below about your most instagrammable foodie discovery.
* Statistic is entirely made up for dramatic purposes