We are welcoming fall with open arms and getting in-season with all things October. That means football, a trip to Spookyworld in New Hampshire, a new fall wardrobe at the Simon Outlets (#foundatsimon), perhaps a trip to the sunny Charleston, SC – and what would the fall be without a PSL? While the delicious flavors of fall in our cup are impressive enough, we were intrigued by the excellent incorporation of marketing as an essential part of our season. We are diving deep into the marketing strategy of the PSL, from its birth in the Liquid Lab to the cult classic-esque culture of this popular drink.
The beginning of the Pumpkin Spice Latte
While you can find PSLs from Dunkin’ Donuts to Thinking Cups near and far, Starbucks has taken the reigns on advertising this fall-in-a-cup drink quite perfectly, and it all started in early 2003. It is no joke that it was created in what Starbucks calls their research and development space, the “Liquid Lab”. Peter Dukes was the the product manager who led the development. The spiced drink was inspired by a “forkful of pumpkin pie followed by a sip of hot espresso”. Testing began in Washington D.C and Vancouver, and has been sipped over 200 million times since 2015.
Pumpkin Spice Latte in the News
This drink is iconic and gets the press talking. Here are a few of our favorite peices :
- TIME reports an unofficial close of the summer as stated by the release of the Starbucks PSL.
- TODAY debates PSL versus Starbucks’s newest member of the holiday trend, Mocha Chile.
- PEOPLE magazine reporting the release of PSL = end of swimsuit season.
- THE WICHITA EAGLE reporting on the woman who won free ‘Starbucks for Life’ and casually is sipping on a PSL in her interview.
Free Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is an essential tool for PR today. It can get a bit pricey, but sometimes a brand is just so good they influencers are promoting a product for free, and without being asked! Here a few of our favorite influencers that are helping Starbucks PSL:
- Scary Mommy Blog contributor, Christine Organ reports the parent’s guide to the 5 stages of fall and do we even have to say who has made it on the list?
- Southern Curls and Pearls, Caitlin, posted her favorite “basics” for her fall fashion, but wait, is that a PSL we see?
- Live Simply’s, Kristin, creates her own rendition of PSL, although the effort to make it on our own seems tiresome, so much so we are on our way to Starbucks to pick ours up right now!
social media & user generated content
Social media is crucial for your brand. It’s no surprise that PSL has its own hashtag, Instagram, and Tumblr account. Here are a few of our favorites:
- The “I’m Back” post on Twitter. Classicly dropping in on fall foliage with a cool pair of shades and a parachute.
- The conversation the tweet above has started. PSL is hip on pop culture!
- Everyone loves a good pun and this one is amazing!
- The humble brag from a Tumblr question.
- How can you leverage your brand to become an essential part of the season?
- Who are your brand influencers and audience?
- Have you saturated your market with great content?
- Does your brand have a defined voice
Long live the PSL!