Desirée with an accent

Starbucks Frappuccino

Starbucks Frappuccino

Sampling Program


The North American Coffee Partnership (Starbucks and PepsiCo) introduced a new flavor of its ready-to-drink Starbucks Frappuccino line, White Chocolate Mocha. The company wanted to introduce the product in select cities in Arizona, Texas and Southern California to win the hearts and minds of the Hispanic consumer and put liquid to lips with the new flavor as well as other variants popular with Hispanics (Mocha Coconut and Caramel).

Challenge in a nutshell:

Create a sampling program to help enforce the notion that Starbucks coffee can be trusted and taste great when bottled (ready-to-drink) in select cities in Arizona, Texas and Southern California.

Objectives in a nutshell:

  • Drive awareness of RTD Frappuccino flavors to increase incremental volume
  • Increase awareness of RTD Frappuccino and encourage our target audience to purchase/consume RTD Frappuccino more frequently
    • Encourage sampling at point of purchase, that will lead to purchase conversion and ultimately move case volume at retail

My role:

  • Researched relevant events in Arizona, Texas and Southern California and crafted a lineup recommendation
  • Brainstormed activation ideas 
  • POC for event properties
  • Acquired sampling permits with the cities for each event
  • Handled budget and payments to vendors and event properties
  • Helped coordinate logistics with activation partner and PepsiCo distributor

Execution in a nutshell:

Enlisted Moderne Communications as our activation partner and secured participation at six festivals and sporting events in Arizona (Phoenix and Tucson), nine events in Texas (Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston) and two events in California (Los Angeles). Additionally, TracyLocke secured $500,000 of radio added value, which allowed us to activate sixty-five retail sampling events across all the above markets. We produced two radio spots to rotate throughout the program cycle.

Program elements included a "paletero" cart that could roam festival grounds, sampling stand with a top sign that lighted up for added visibility at night, an interactive "wall of flavor" for consumer giveaways (branded drawstring bags, beach towels and sunglasses. Brand ambassadors were capturing consumer information using giveaways as incentive.


The Paletero Carts In all markets (Dallas, Houston, Phoenix, Tucson) were consistently received positively by consumers and frequently generated feelings of nostalgia. Many of the older consumers (even older Millennials) would be reminded of fond childhood memories of the paletero man visiting them in the streets by their homes. Some of these consumers even thanked our sampling team for bringing back such great memories.

They really got this Mexican theme right! That’s worthy of a picture.
— Consumer at event

The branded giveaways worked very well. Full Bottles as prizes were also very well received and people were excited to win a full bottle of the sample flavor they liked the best, it was a easy and cost effective prize that people truly enjoyed.

The Wall of Flavor was the engagement element of the program. There was nothing but positive sentiments towards this tactic and there were consistently long lines to play with it. The consumer could sample via the cart or the stand and then automatically win a Frappuccino prize since everyone who played won something. The size and creative design of the WOF not only generated excitement among the consumers, but doubled as a media billboard and the perfect “selfie background”. The size allowed for it to be seen from far away and because it was mobile, it could travel around the events. 

The CRM Data Capture was effective in gathering names that coud be retargeted either via email or mobile. The easy navigation of the data entry pages on iPads made it easy for a consumer to choose which kind of communication they would like and also for the BA’s to quickly register consumers so they could play the WOF.

Overall, both goals (awareness and conversions) were achieved successfully. Besides the large number of samples distributed, the program yielded immeasurable additional impressions through our branding and presence at these events. This coupled with the awareness-focused creative of our broadcast radio spots helped Frappuccino stay top of mind throughout the summer of 2016. The program delivered on the conversion goal through the radio investment. The 65 retail sampling activations yielded 12,900 samples as well as invaluable on-air promotion, DJ chatter and retail CTA during radio station on-site activation.

activation highlights:

Recap video put together by Moderne Communications, our activation partner.