After a truly awful spring and summer, Starbucks is urging customers to start thinking about the fall. In a clever new social media campaign, the coffee titan invites guests to join a Facebook group called the Leaf Rakers Society, which is a hub for people who want to “constructively work together with Mother Nature to help Autumn arrive earlier in the calendar year.“ It’s also a place for “year-round scarf-wearers” and “members of the Great Pumpkinwatch 2017 Facebook Group.” The community guidelines note that this “isn’t a place for religious or political debate,” just a group for people who want to talk about fall stuff.
Starbucks announced the new campaign on Twitter last Friday, with a cute animated drawing of a room full of pumpkins, leaves, and pleasant sunlight:
In years past, the ‘Bucks has been criticized for launching its fall products too soon (those Pumpkin Spice Lattes typically start rolling out right before Labor Day). But fall is the busiest time of the year at Starbucks locations across the country, and the PSL drop date always causes a sales spike, so it makes perfect sense that the company would want to get the people excited about its seasonal offerings around this time of year.
This campaign also works so well because it taps into something that makes people genuinely happy: looking forward to the fall. August is the hottest, slowest, most boring month. But the fall is a time of endless possibilities. It’s the season with the best weather, and the time of the year that’s closely associated with the idea of “new beginnings.”
Like many big chains, Starbucks has recently been throwing a lot of stuff to the wall to see what sticks. That’s why it’s nice, for a change, to see an ad campaign that feels fresh but also connected to the core appeal of the brand — namely that it supplies those hot, sugary, caffeinated beverages that people crave when the temperature starts to drop.