Starbucks recently enlisted freestyle rapper Harry Mack to recommend various flavors of the company’s at-home coffee products to consumers via improvised rap verses. It’s somewhat of an unconventional influencer deal for the coffee chain—but more than that, it signifies Starbucks’ interest in tapping a new consumer base on a social media platform the company had previously never explored: Twitch.
“We’ve been eyeing the opportune moment to dip our toe into the ‘stream,’ so to speak,” Trudy Nyairo, senior manager of Starbucks brand marketing at Nestlé—which oversees the marketing and distribution of Starbucks’ consumer products—wrote in an email to Ad Age. “Even though [Twitch’s] roots are in video gaming and esports, the platform has expanded rapidly, and we’re certainly exploring how to leverage it, especially in reaching the younger, digitally savvy audiences.”
As part of the company’s partnership with Mack, Starbucks sponsored an hour-long livestream on his Twitch channel revolving around Mack sharing freestyle “reverse roasts” with his viewers. But unlike the traditional “roast”—a comedic but disparaging takedown that highlights a person’s negative traits or flaws—Mack instead crafted freestyle rap verses that suggested various Starbucks coffee flavors to his viewers based on personality descriptors they typed in the chat section of his stream.