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Starbucks heats up awareness for summer drinks via themed Snapchat lenses

Starbucks is keeping its chilled drinks at the forefront of consumers’ minds as warmer weather arrives with Frappucino and party-themed content across social media, including Snapchat lenses.

The beverage chain is tapping into the popularity surrounding themed Snapchat lenses – which can be superimposed over individuals’ selfies – by rolling out a new party- and Frappucino-themed lens to kick off excitement for summer. Consumers who see their friends snapping photos with the lenses may become inspired to head to their nearest Starbucks and purchase an icy drink, as well as add the retail chain to their list of must-follow brands on Snapchat.

“The party lenses are certain to inspire a share of consumers to start following Starbucks, though the extent to which they are able to keep followers engaged long-term is unclear,” said Laura Sossong, senior consultant at Boston Retail Partners. “The offering is certainly a fun and unique way to interact and promote social sharing, and the ease of opting in will play in the favor of Starbucks.”

Summertime Snapchat party
Twitter users may spot sponsored ads from Starbucks Coffee and its Frappucino account embedded within their feeds. One sponsored ad by Frappucino tasks consumers with following several directions: opening Starbucks’ Snapchat lens and putting on their party face.

Below the directions, individuals can see a preview of Starbucks’ new lenses. A person is shown smiling into his smartphone before the lens appears, taking the form of several floating balloons.

Users can click on the ad to add Starbucks to their list of Snapchat friends. Consumers will also be given the option to download Snapchat if they have not yet already done so.

Individuals who have added Starbucks on Snapchat can then take a selfie within the photo-sharing application and hold their finger over their face to access the available lenses and filters. Starbucks’ sponsored lens will appear first, and will prompt a sea of colored balloons to seemingly float out of the user’s mouth.

A cartoon version of a Frappucino will also be visible in the bottom left corner.

Users can upload their lens-adorned selfies to their Snapchat Story, or send them to friends.

Frothing up drink inspiration
By uploading their selfies to Snapchat, consumers can unknowingly plant a seed of inspiration in their friends’ minds to stop at a local Starbucks and pick up a cold Frappucino to combat the season’s warm temperatures.

Snapchat lenses, though sponsored, can often times simulate a more organic form of mobile advertising, thanks to their interactivity.

Additionally, more consumers may feel compelled to add Starbucks to their Snapchat friends list, a move that could fuel sales for the retail chain in the future. Starbucks regularly promotes its seasonal drinks and mobile ordering service on the social media app.

The beverage brand has recently employed a mix of mobile and social strategies to ramp up awareness of its menu items and ensure that consumers do not miss a chance to visit one of its locations.

For example, Starbucks drove springtime sales with a new microsite for its Happy Mondays events that let visitors add the special offers to their mobile calendars, ensuring that fans would not forget about any of the weekly promotions (see story).

Meanwhile, several months ago, Starbucks fueled digital sales by inviting Twitter users to take a quiz designed to discover the coffee flavor best suited to their tastes and click through to a mobile-optimized shopping site to purchase a bag (see story).

Leveraging sponsored Snapchat lenses, however, will help Starbucks reach one of its target audiences, younger consumers, on a frequently-used social platform.

“Retailers are still exploring the potential that Snapchat has to offer in terms of marketing to the consumer,” Ms. Sossong said. “At the moment, Snapchat lenses are at a true peak in popularity—but like all marketing fads, the traction behind the trend is likely to fade.

“If venturing into Snapchat is a desire, now is certainly the prudent time for retailers to tap into its momentum.”