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Media Monitoring

It’s the Season of Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte

October 09, 2014 10:00 AM

pumpkin_spice_latteThere are a few sure signs that autumn has arrived; children going back to school, maple leaves turning orange, vacant retail space transformed into Halloween superstores, and the return of Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte. Fall came early this year, with Starbucks rolling out the pumpkin spice on August, 25th. It was 101 degrees here in Austin that day, but who cares? Pumpkin spice lattes are a thing. (#PSL)

Pumpkin Spiced Media Analysis

To find out just how big of a thing, we used Trendkite’s visualized media analysis to dig into the data. It turns out, that not only do people enjoy sipping their Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte, reporters enjoy writing about it as well.  This graph shows pumpkin spice total mentions over the last couple of months.


The spike on August 25th make sense as that corresponds to the Starbucks PSL release date, but why the spike during the week of the 21st? The 23rd was the first day of fall and coverage turned to all things pumpkin spiced.

Everyone Wants Some of the Pumpkin Spice Action

Starbucks may be the biggest player in pumpkin spice, but they aren’t the only one. Dunkin’ Donuts has a spice offering, as do McDonalds and Tim Horton’s. Pumpkin spice isn’t limited to coffee. You can now buy a variety of pumpkin spice products like yogurt, beer, and gum. You can get favorite classic brands like Oreos and Pringles in this flavor.  There were even rumors of a pumpkin spiced condom, but they turned out to be false.  So, while Starbucks has some pumpkin spiced competition, they still dominate the pumpkin spice conversation, as our share of voice analysis makes clear.


No Pumpkins Where Harmed in the Making of this Latte

We also took a look at some of the key messages around the caffeinated concoction. The latte was mentioned frequently along with National Coffee Day, which occurred on September 29th. There was also a lot of discussion around the fact that Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte has become a cultural phenomenon. Many stopped to ponder, “What exactly is pumpkin spice?” (Hint, not pumpkin.) And, apparently, in addition to being associated with fall, pumpkin spice lattes are also associated with white girls in yoga pants. (A quick Instagram check reveals that there might be something to this.)


So, all-in-all, it looks like the Starbuck’s PR team did fine work with the pumpkin spice latte this year. Just like the arrival of pumpkin spice gives us a clue that it’s time to put on a sweater, we’ll know it’s time to start buying gifts and roasting chestnuts when the white cups are replaced with red ones and pumpkin spice becomes gingerbread. We'll let you know if the holdiay offerings get as much coverage. Let us know if you’d like to have a look at these visualized PR metrics for your business.