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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Starbucks Whips Up Frappuccino Campaign

May 4, 2010

Starbucks today (Tuesday) kicked off a new campaign for its Frappuccino brand, touting “however-you-want-it” blended iced drinks.

Dubbed "Express Your Love!," the campaign comes as Starbucks tries to grow sales of its priciest drinks, such as the Frappuccino. (The coffee chain recently announced Frappuccino-inspired products, including ice creams and the Vanilla Frappuccino Light drink.)

TV and print ads, via BBDO, New York, highlight the Frappuccino brand's customizable ingredients in a photo-and-word collage. One 15-second TV spot shows the making of a Strawberries & Crème Frappuccino. First, an empty Starbucks plastic cup is plunked down, then, fresh-squeezed strawberries, ice and coffee beans are whipped together in a blender, as an anxious woman rips open a straw and slurps the drink. “Amazing ice bliss,” the woman says in the spot.

Similarly, a print ad for the Soy Strawberries & Crème Frappuccino, shows a smiling woman, along with phrases like “liquid love,” “strawberry cream bliss,” “xoxo” and “fruity.” The ad directs consumers to Frappuccino.com, where they can create their own frozen drink. The ads will run in magazines like Rolling Stone, ESPN, Maxim, Lucky, Cosmo, US Weekly and Entertainment Weekly.

Starbucks stores across the U.S. began selling the new Frappuccinos today.

The effort, which also spans social media and digital ads on sites like meebo.com, Yahoo!, Pandora and Flickr, is one of the biggest yet for Starbucks, which has traditionally spent very little on advertising. The Seattle-based coffee chain significantly increased marketing spend in 2008, when it doled out $30 million on advertising. In 2009, that figure was up 43.3 percent to $43 million, per the Nielsen Co., excluding online.

Additionally, the company is running a three-week promotion on The CW’s Gossip Girl, asking viewers to “express their love and create a mash up” of Gossip Girl show clips for a chance to win a trip to the show’s set in New York, per Starbucks rep Lisa Passe. The target consumers for the new campaign are males and females ages 18 to 25, Passe said.

“However-you-want-it” is one part of Starbucks' strategy to boost the Frappuccino brand. In an earnings call with analysts last month, chief financial officer Tory Alstead said the coffee chain plans to boost spending behind Frappuccino and Via, the chain’s new line of instant, soluble coffees. During the call, Alstead added: "[Frappuccino is a] multibillion dollar brand for us and we will spend appropriately and heavily against that very long standing and profitable brand."