The Starbucks designs appear in the leading coffee chain’s signature shades of green with plenty of holiday red and pops of white. Starbucks has included its siren logo among the polka dots on one of the paper cups and hid the Starbucks wordmark in a repeating refrain of “merry coffee” on the green cup. The collection, complete with print ads that mimic fashion spreads, continues the bolder creative expression Starbucks began using earlier this year.
The holiday beverage battle is already heating up on social media. Dunkin’s peppermint mocha flavor is back after not being on the winter 2018 menu, and customers who downloaded the mobile app could buy the drink on Nov. 5, a day earlier than the advertised Nov. 6 launch. Dunkin’ also snagged the “peppermint mocha” Twitter handle and Instagram page to promote the beverage. Almost as soon as Dunkin’ began tweeting from @peppermintmocha.
Both chains are eager to see the buzz about the holiday translate into business. Starbucks wants to keep its momentum going. Starbucks’ U.S. comparable sales got a boost last quarter from pumpkin-flavored products, with comparable sales up 6 percent and comparable visits up 3 percent. Dunkin’ is eager to lure more customers. Its U.S. comparable sales rose 1.5 percent last quarter, but visits to its locations were down.
Starbucks’ returning winter products include beverages such as peppermint mocha, toasted white chocolate mocha, caramel brûlée latte, chestnut praline latte and eggnog latte. And like last year, it is giving away a reusable red holiday cup to customers who order a holiday beverage on Nov. 7, while supplies last, and offering 50-cent discounts on certain drinks to those who reuse that cup after 2 p.m. through Jan. 7.
The Dunkin’ lineup includes peppermint mocha, gingerbread s’mores and winter white chocolate flavors. Dunkin’ is also promoting four new “signature” (read: more expensive, though prices vary) lattes: holiday eggnog, merry mocha mint, toasted gingerbread and frosted white chocolate. Its new holiday doughnut is the “holiday brownie crumble donut.” Dunkin’ is also hopeful this month’s national rollout of its Beyond Sausage breakfast sandwich entices customers.
Over at Starbucks, the seasonal food includes the holiday turkey & stuffing panini, cranberry bliss bar, sugar plum Danish, snowman cookie, gingerbread loaf, peppermint brownie cake pop and snowman cake pop.
The majority of Starbucks’ campaign work was done by its in-house creative team, with film production handled by The Mill.
“Knowing that we’ve only got seconds to really capture our audience we just really wanted to create this magical," Nelson says of the videos. "We call it the ‘merry coffee universe.'"
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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article stated that Starbucks had launched a Twitter account with the handle @SBuxMintMocha, but Ad Age has learned it is not an official Starbucks account and appears to be run by a third-party user.