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Strong Coffee? Strong Branding.

Or should I say sweet branding? Starbucks, once known to many as a purveyor of bitter (yet premium) coffee, is continuing along its well-defined path of capturing even bigger portions of America’s hearts. Their blonde roast, for example, helped those with milder coffee taste preferences join in the long-lined experience. (Plus, it let all those around enjoy whenever anyone ordered a “Tall Blonde.”) Their latest advance isn’t a coffee at all – it’s a cookie in the shape of their iconic frozen cappuccino: the beloved Frappuccino®. 

When I saw this oversized, 350-calorie cookie in the Starbucks goodie case last week, I immediately snapped the picture above and texted it to my husband, along with something like “Wow, that’s some strong branding!” Our text volleys then proceeded to describe the taste appeal of this baked good – not to mention the social appeal. 

Just as I suspected, I wasn’t the only one impressed with this simply adorable extension of the Starbucks brand empire. From media outlets to influencers to everyday consumers, photos of the coffee-drink-shaped cookie have been popping up all over social feeds. Here are a few I saw recently…

This may be just one new cookie for Starbucks, but it represents a whole lot of in-store, digital, and in-person chatter of the brand-building kind. I’m sure people will be showing their purchased treat to friends. Many will probably buy it as a treat for others. Some will even buy it for work kitchens or client gifting. Regardless of where someone eats it, with each unveiling from the mermaid-adorned bag, oohing and ahhhing will ensue – and the Starbucks brand will be brought into people’s lives in yet another way. (They won’t even need a cup of coffee to enjoy the cookie shaped like a cup of coffee – heck, kids will love it with a glass of milk.)

I haven’t seen a single ad for these feats of sugar-cookie-goodness, but have no fear – they’ll be successful because of two main reasons:

1. The simplistic yet beautiful design is an instant get, and an instant want-to-get, right down to the debossed chocolate logo.

2. Gazillions of consumers will see them while they wait to place their complicated coffee orders – and during that time, some will snap a smartphone pic and share with the virtual world while others will be order the cookie and indulge in some real-life tastebud satisfaction. 

The only missed opportunity I see? The name. While “Frappuccino® Cookie” is straightforward, why not make it more fun to say while ordering (or talking / posting about)? Cookieccino anyone?


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