This ad came up on my Facebook feed and I was immediately drawn in by the fun colors and the seasonal theme of the photo. The second thought I had was, “what in the flavor is this.” I made the educated guess that it wasn’t a wart of bat, breath of toad, and howl of cat flavored frappuccino. It made me wonder about advertisement and the viral nature of food products. This is a clear ploy to get people to buy for the Instagram or the snap versus actually consuming the product. Starbucks has done this before: unicorn, mermaid, dragon, and other. Side note: here is an interesting article about limited edition frappuccinos.
However, as someone who never bought a limited-edition frappuccino, I was intrigued and thought why not try it?
Soooooo… I did. I drove down to my local Starbucks. With a lit bit of reluctance order a “Witch’s Brew” frappuccino. The barista asked me if I have ever had it before because she’s never had it and was curious what it tastes like (clearly the Witch’s Brew is not nearly as popular as the famous unicorn one). After our exchange, I went to go wait for my ~spooky~ treat.
Then my name was called, and I was greeted with a surprisingly bright purple “drink.”
The color was not that far off from the ad as was the passion fruit syrup (that I’m assuming is supposed to look like braiinnsss *zombie voice*). The only thing missing was the vibrant green topping, which frankly I’m not too upset about, this thing was going to be sweet enough.
Finally, I tasted it. And well, not too bad, but not great. It was like frozen milk from a bowl of fruity pebbles. Not sickly sweet like I feared, but not too flavorful. The passion fruit seeds occasionally added a textural element. Overall, not great, not bad. The taste was underwhelming for a drink that promised a lot with its presentation.
So why does Starbucks put out a sub-par beverage? Well, it’s very #ontheme for Halloween, and they clearly grab attention for their brand. There is nothing wrong with Instagramable products, I am an active user of Instagram. However, there is an interesting conversation to be had about products focused on Instagram versus quality of the product. Going viral is great for a brand, obviously. I’m mean they got me to write this. Thats the point though, talking about the drink not drinking it. Why do focus on how good something looks if it doesn’t live up to the hype? Do we care?