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How Starbucks And Postmates Are Driving Orders, In-Store Sales Of ‘Unicorn Frappucinos’

You've surely seen them on Instagram by now. Why is this colorful promo getting so much buzz?

If you’ve seen the unicorn emoji plastered all over your Instagram feed, chances are you already know: Starbucks is running a five day promotion (April 19-23) to deliver multi-colored “Unicorn Frappucinos” to users for free via Postmates.

Delivery charges still apply, but the Millennial-friendly promo has users logging on to Postmates en masse to score the beverage while supplies last. By 1:30 PM on April 20th, all Manhattan Starbucks locations had run out of “flavor changing” mystery drink.

Playing off of the popular unicorn trend, the drink’s success for Starbucks is two-fold: Firstly, with its colorful, Instagram-friendly aesthetics (yes, “Instagram aesthetics” are a thing now), it’s a prime target for social media sharing; #Unicornfrappuccino has over 150K tags on Instagram and counting. All of that exposure contributes helps with winning over new customers.

That’s great for Postmates (delivery fees) and for Starbucks brand awareness, but the twist is that the mobile promotion is actually driving foot traffic to Starbucks, too. Due to increased demand, customers who have seen the Unicorn Frappucino publicized on social media are actually going to Starbucks locations themselves to try to beat the Postmates rush — and paying full price for the limited-edition beverage. When a trend goes viral, customers don’t care which channel they get it through; just that they get it.

So, what’s in this drink, anyway? “Like its mythical namesake, the Unicorn Frappuccino blended crème comes with a bit of magic, starting as a purple beverage with swirls of blue and a first taste that is sweet and fruity,” the company said in a statement. “But give it a stir and its color changes to pink, and the flavor evolves to tangy and tart. The more swirl, the more the beverage’s color and flavors transform.”

Sound a bit odd? Plenty of orderers claim it tastes delicious, but let’s be honest: For the Unicorn Frappucino’s target demographic, if the Instagram looks good, does it even really matter?