The Pumpkin Spice Latte

When you think about Fall, what comes to mind? Some of you may think of trees changing colors, the air getting cooler, and the festivities that ensue such as hayrides at farms or pumpkin picking. Well these thoughts are just the bare-minimum starting point for what marketers consider when they are advertising for seasonal markets! Let’s take a look at an example of what a marketing campaign for the fall season may look like…

STARBUCKS PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE: It is the unavoidable drink of the fall season. In America, the Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) is well known and beloved throughout the months of September and November. Forbes magazine notes how the PSL and holiday drinks are crucial to Starbucks’ fall performance.


The PSL is an annual campaign that brings in a larger revenue for Starbucks during the holiday season due to the exclusivity of the product. Exclusivity is a great marketing strategy; it says that it can only be sold by one corporation and offers a sense of belonging with the brand because of the uniqueness of the product. Customers know that they can expect this product to be sold at a certain time during the calendar year when this is true, it encourages customers to stay loyal to that experience even in times when this exclusive product is not being offered.

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When a product creates a movement such as the PSL at Starbucks, it can lead to a larger following. Some of you may remember when Starbucks released the Unicorn Frappuccino in the Spring of 2017. There was so much media coverage around this rare and exclusive drink. Even if you were not a Starbucks customer, people wanted to try it for themselves because of the movement and excitement that surrounded it. The PSL does just this once a year and it something loyal customers can count on for the fall!

Marketing for the occasion, in this case being the fall season, is a way for a brand to stay relevant and increase publicity and sales during certain times in the year. Starbucks uses every season to their advantage for selling hot and cold drinks. Fall is the most successful season for the company due to the hot drinks being what most people drink. Using the PSL as their” reason-for-the-season” assists them in sales, publicity, and drawing in new crowds.

Drink on, coffee drinkers. I hope you find joy in the season of pumpkins.


-June Crawford