Starbucks Aims To Recreate 'Unicorn' Magic With 'Crystal Ball' Frappuccino

Can you capture lightning in a cup? Twice?

Starbucks managed the trick last spring, with its colorful Unicorn Frappuccino — and hopes to repeat that success with a new offering, a Crystal Ball Frappuccino.

The new drink is, in Starbucks’ words, “a mystical, swirling peach infusion topped with peach flavored whipped cream, turquoise sprinkles and [topped with] one of three different candy gems that reveal your fortune…”

Green “gems” (actually, colored candy sprinkles) supposedly forecast luck; blue ones adventure; and purple ones “magic, wonder and enchantment.” The color of gem that ends up in each drink is left up to chance, since the sprinkles are hidden in pouches until each drink is prepared.

Starbucks is promoting the drink on its social channels, including a GIF showing a crystal ball turning into one of the Frappuccinos.



What remains to be seen is whether this entry, available in Starbucks cafés in the U.S., Canada and Mexico from March 22 to 26, can approach the success of the Unicorn Frappuccino.

The limited-time Unicorn novelty drink went viral on social media, earned the brand many millions in free media exposure, delivered a significant traffic bump and some incremental sales, and enhanced brand awareness and affinity, according to the brand’s statements.

Perhaps most important, from a strategic, long-term view, the drink greatly raised consumers’ awareness of Starbucks’s non-coffee offerings.

Starbucks used the beverage as a promotional lever for launching its Frappuccino Happy Hour, offering those drinks at half price between 3 and 5 p.m. (or 6 p.m., for rewards members).

At the time, in April 2017, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson vowed, “We will bring at least one new entirely new drink into Happy House this year that is going to be as good as Unicorn or better.”

But follow-ups thus far — including a Halloween-timed Zombie Frappuccino and a Christmas Tree Frappuccino — didn’t achieve the massive buzz levels generated by the Unicorn.

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