Food Writer's Diary
Starbucks launches another extreme LTO Photos courtesy of Starbucks

Starbucks launches another extreme LTO

The 5-day Christmas Tree Frappuccino is already a hit on Instagram

Awhile back I mentioned the growing prevalence of extreme LTOs — limited time offers that are just available for a few days, or at a few locations — to create buzz or drive traffic or get a bunch of Instagram posts or whatever.

Arby’s started the latest round last year with venison sandwiches available for one day at 17 locations, but I think it’s safe to say that Starbucks is winning this trend with its springtime launch of the Unicorn Frappuccino.

Well, the Seattle-based coffee giant is at it again with the Christmas Tree Frappuccino, which is a red-and-green blend starting with a Peppermint Mocha Crème Frappuccino — a seasonal flavor already on the menu — that’s garnished with a “tree” of whipped cream colored with matcha, a caramel drizzle “garland,” candied cranberry “ornaments” and a strawberry on top. It was launched yesterday and is only available at participating locations in the United States and Canada until Monday, Dec. 11, unless they run out sooner.

A 12-ounce “tall” Christmas Tree Frappuccino is priced at $4.75-$4.95, depending on the market.

Operationally, I guess that should be simple enough — a couple extra garnishes and a separate whipped cream canister — and it’s certainly gotten media attention.

People magazine’s associate editor for digital platforms Maggie Malach tried it and the headline of her account declared it “Truly a Yuletide Journey,” I guess because the first Starbucks she went to wasn’t participating, and she gave it a thumbs-up. 

And Starbucks’ Instagram post of the drink, as of this writing, has 519,213 likes, making it more successful in that regard than the Zombie Frappuccino (a tart apple-and-caramel flavored Frappuccino Crème topped with pink whipped cream “brains” and a red mocha drizzle) that was available Oct. 26-31 and has 319,358 likes.

Buzz-worthy and operationally straightforward, this type of LTO seems like an idea waiting to be copied by other restaurateurs. I wonder how many of them we’ll see in the new year.

Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected] 

Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary

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