Starbucks has decided to jump on the rainbow-themed food trend bandwagon with its Unicorn Frappuccino blended beverage. The sparkly frozen beverage, which was only available from April 19 to 23, had quickly become a social media sensation.
However, not all of the attention was positive. Starbucks baristas made headlines after taking to Reddit and Twitter to complain about filling endless orders of the complex drink. And media coverage also zeroed in on thehigh sugar content of the Unicorn Frappuccino; a whopping 59 grams for a 16 oz drink.
The colour-changing drink is made up of pink powder, blended into a crème Frappuccino with mango syrup and layered with a pleasantly sour blue drizzle. The colour and flavour changing drink comes with blue swirls and a sweet, fruity taste. Give it a stir and watch it transform to pink, while the drink’s flavour morphs to tangy and tart.
But its fleeting appearance has made a mark. The social media universe couldn’t seem to get enough of the sugar-laden drink and its pastel colours. And despite the short-lived nature of the Unicorn Frappuccino, Starbucks has reportedly reached out to baristas to discuss how to make it better. So don’t be surprised if this Instagram sensation becomes a new annual tradition at the coffee giant.
Or will you? The owners of Williamsburg’s The End have filed a $10 million trademark infringement lawsuit against Starbucks over the colourful beverage. The Brooklyn café claims that its customers assumed their Unicorn Latte was a “copy-cat or knockoff” of Starbucks’ Unicorn Frappuccino, also named after the mythical creature. Also according to the lawsuit, Unicorn Lattes hit the market in December 2016, well before Starbucks.
“The coordinated social media blitz orchestrated by Starbucks drowned out the fame that any coffee shop in Brooklyn could obtain,” the lawsuit said. “This widespread confusion was made worse by the derision and ridicule that Starbucks’ Unicorn Frappuccino encountered upon launch.”
The New York Post reported that records show The End’s owners applied to trademark the name on January 20, but the application is still pending. Concequently, a rep for Starbucks refuted the lawsuit, telling TMZ: “The suit is without merit, and its drink was inspired by many unicorn-themed foods and drinks trending on social media.”
So what are you’re thoughts on this colourful Unicorn Frappuccino? Would you like to see it come back as part of the menu? You can also check out the most expensive Starbucks drink ever.
Daniel is an Art Director and Graphic Designer with over a decade of experience in advertising and marketing in the Greater Toronto Area.