If you have been on any form of social media in the past year you have most likely come across some type of “unicorn” food or drink. This recent trend of colorful food has gone from shimmery and sparkly “galaxy” themed to rainbow and pastel “unicorn” themed but none the less ridiculous. Yes, even I find this trend crazy and I tend to be a sucker for anything bright and shiny. Regardless of how I feel, these types of trends seem to draw in revenue, while simultaneously providing brands with endless free advertising.
First, it is interesting to note that the unicorn food trend started from a health and wellness blogger and food stylist in Miami named Adeline Waugh. Waugh helped start the trend last year while she was experimenting with natural food dye that added a pop of color to her Instagram photos and got people excited. Once bigger brands and companies started to hear about this trend they took it into their own hands, and took it to the next level. Starbucks, for example, recently created the “Unicorn Frappuccino.”
This new colorful drink was sold at Starbucks across the country, and “drove significant traffic to chains, as well as spread brand awareness and affinity.” Served for only a limited time, the craziest part about these bright (almost glowing) purple and pink drinks is that even though they apparently taste terrible people continued to buy them. I personally never got to try one, but as seen on shows like Jimmy Kimmel Live!, and hearing reviews from friends, they taste like Unicorn vomit. Regardless of taste, the Unicorn Frappuccino helped improve Starbucks same-store sales throughout the second quarter, culminating 4 percent of U.S. same-store sales growth in March, and into April. Also, the number of Instagram’s, Tweets, and posts about this mythical drink were endless; providing Starbucks with free marketing across all social channels which doesn’t even include the mass amounts of traction it gained on television shows, like Jimmy Kimmel Live! (mentioned above) and more. Starbucks is an example of a large chain brand that took advantage of this colorful food trend but many other smaller stores are also jumping on the bandwagon and taking advantage of this trend too. The Good Sort, a vegan tea and espresso bar in Chinatown is serving up a rainbow iced latte that has already been featured in magazines like Cosmopolitan, Thrillist, and Grubstreet. They are also getting a lot of social attention just in time for summer.
Only time will tell how long this unicorn trend lasts, but for now it seems to be working for companies. Whether you look at a large business like Starbucks or a small coffee shop like The Good Sort, these colorful concoction’s draw in a ton of attention which leads to more revenue and company exposure; so, if you haven’t jumped on this latest unicorn trend maybe it’s time to for your brand to brighten itself up and get on board.