Have you seen anyone walking down the street in the last week with a Starbucks cup that looked a little more celebratory than usual? The “birthday cake Frappuccino,” was vanilla bean and hazelnut flavored, with a layer of pink-tinted, raspberry whipped cream on top.
The drink was designed to celebrate the 20th birthday of the iconic frozen beverage. In response to the milestone, Starbucks wrote,
Today, Starbucks serves Frappuccino blended beverages in all of its 66 countries and offers more than 36,000 different drink combinations. Around the world there are unique Frappuccino flavors that reflect the diverse palates of global customers, such as Coffee Jelly Frappuccino and Red Bean Green Tea Frappuccino in Asia, Algarrobina Frappuccino with syrup from the Black Carob tree in Peru and the chocolate Brigadeiro Frappuccino in Brazil.
In explaining the original thought process behind creating the drink, Dina Campion, a 20-year veteran of the company said,
“When you think about it, 20 years ago, the business, Starbucks hadn’t launched into a whole host of warm weather markets. We were reliant on the holiday season,” Campion said. “With Frappuccino, we were able to level out the dips in store traffic in the summer.”
Today’s the last day to give the celebratory beverage a try, but the short run served as a welcome distraction from the negative press Starbucks has received lately around their Race Together campaign, masterminded by CEO Howard Schulz.
The campaign asked baristas to write the hashtag #racetogether on customers’ coffee cups and attempt to engage them in conversations about racial issues while preparing their beverages. The effort was quickly pulled, as baristas complained that they didn’t have time to engage in meaningful conversation during the rush to get drinks out quickly. In crowded cafés, it was clearly difficult to start a touchy dialogue about an issue that deserves a far more thoughtful and nuanced approach.
As it turns out, the saccharine LTO frapp proved to be a fairly effective (and very welcome) interruption of a painful news cycle for the coffee purveyor. We’ll drink to that!