The Pumpkin Spice Latte: A Cultural Experience Seasons often invoke a series of sentimental images. White sandy beaches and ice cold glasses of lemonade are reminiscent of summer, while warm cozy fires and well- crafted snowmen remind us of winter. In the September 2013 edition of Rolling Stone, the Starbucks Coffee Company portrays its seasonal drink, the pumpkin spice latte, as a key component and emotional ingredient of autumn.

Starbucks skillfully employs a combination of warm brown colors and autumnal images with a creative font to appeal to the audience and remind them that a pumpkin spice latte is ecessary to completely immerse oneself in the fall season. The focal point of this advertisement is the outline of a to-go coffee cup, presumably the pumpkin spice latte, with a foamy white whipped cream shape on top. Black scrolled writing fills the inside of the whipped cream. A collection of six images comprises the interior of the coffee cup, each displaying both an aspect of fall and a pumpkin spice latte.

Two of the images are composed of happy women: one is smiling widely as she grasps her pumpkin spice latte and the other is actually kissing the coffee drink. Pumpkins are present in two of the photos, one in which the latte is seated atop a pumpkin and in the other the shape of the drink is carved into a pumpkin. The final images focus more on the drink itself. One depicts a pumpkin spice latte clothed in a cozy sweater amid a backdrop of another, slightly unfocused, pumpkin spice latte.

The last picture is an elderly lady reaching across a large poster of a pumpkin spice latte to touch a large drawn hand. These graphics are heavily laced with orange and maroon colors, oozing an extremely autumnal flavor. In the middle of the coffee cup is a transparent outline of a circle with the letters PSL and the number 10 written inside. In large print and a variety of fonts below the to-go cup are the words “Celebrating a decade of pumpkin devotion” with a “#PSL” in smaller type underneath.

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The famous green and white Starbucks emblem is found in the bottom right corner, partially cut off from the edge of the page. The visuals Starbucks employs in its advertisement transform the pumpkin spice latte from an enjoyable drink to a cultural experience. The pictures epict bright and lively scenes of mostly young people enjoying the best aspects of fall with their pumpkin spice lattes. The pumpkin spice latte’s presence throughout the series of pictures suggests that it is a vital thread in the fabric of the fall season.

For instance, its shape is ingrained in a pumpkin and sitting on top of a valley of pumpkins, indicating it plays as much a role in the meaning of fall as the iconic pumpkin itself. The entire essence of the advertisement radiates a festive and lively feel. The Joyous faces of the ladies clutching their pumpkin spice lattes manipulate he reader into believing that if he were to purchase a pumpkin spice latte, he too will experience this newfound love of fall and of life itself.

The pumpkin spice latte is clearly not merely a thirst quencher or a caffeine boost of energy; it is a pleasure and a delight, something to look forward to. Even the text at the bottom of the coffee the readers to examine the meaning of the words. Although the words “Celebrating”, “Decade”, “Pumpkin”, and “Devotion” all comprise a single sentence, their diverse fonts also cause the reader to take each word individually and focus on them one by ne. The words all shift into adjectives that can be used to describe the drink, giving the latte even more of a festive and powerful quality.

Although not as evident as the autumnal theme of the ad, another important feature is the minimal use of the words “pumpkin spice latte”. The phrase is only present in the messy black script within the shape of the whipped cream, not immediately visible to the eye. This suggests that everyone already knows what a “PSL” is and the rare person who is ignorant about this product is robbing himself of an essential fall experience. In addition, the Starbucks logo is not completed anywhere on the page and the word Starbucks is only present in miniscule print to reserve the copyright.

Starbucks’ confidence in its own products and brand inspires the readers and drinkers of the coffee to also believe in the promise of Starbucks’ excellence. The advertisement is not primarily meant to convince readers unfamiliar with Starbucks to purchase the drink or explain to them what Starbucks is; it is simply to inform typical Starbucks drinkers that one of the most popular flavors has returned and that they should quickly come obtain this rink while the fall season lasts. As such a successful company, Starbucks has mastered the art of appeal.

According to the Starbucks Coffee Marketing Plan 2010, the target market for Starbucks is young professionals. 40% of Starbucks’ market is composed of individuals ages 18-24, while 49% of the market is a 25-40 year old population. Rolling Stone, where Starbucks chose to publish this ad fits well with this target audience. Rolling Stone focuses on politics and pop culture, aiming to appeal to younger adults with 52% of their market between the ages of 18-34. Starbucks ustomers are often extremely loyal and return to Starbucks in a regular pattern.

They attempt to maintain the latest trends and choose Starbucks, although it is more expensive than generic coffee brands, because the quality is assured. Starbucks constantly strives to achieve the most cutting edge tactics in the coffee industry, always offering new products while also sticking to established and traditional drinks. Similarly, Rolling Stone is a classic yet evolving magazine that aims to please the readers. Initially, it primarily focused on the music industry, but as the demands of he consumer have changed to a more general interest in news and popular culture, the content of the magazine has transformed.

Starbucks customers, often younger people, choose to purchase Starbucks because they view it and have always viewed it as popular, fun, and cool. In this particular advertisement, two young adults and one older person come together in the overall image, displaying the timeless and transcending nature of Starbucks from generation to generation. A trip to Starbucks is not Just an outing to purchase coffee, but a way to immerse yourself in a urrounding with other trendy people.

Similarly, Rolling Stone is not Just a method of catching up on the latest news; it has a history of being a modern and popular magazine throughout multiple decades. Both of these companies offer their customers novel products and ideas laced with tradition, a concept extremely valued to young people, the target audience of both of these. This advertisement is so successful, especially in the context of this magazine, because it combines a complex and future. Works Cited “Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Advertisement. Rolling Stone 12 Sept. 013: 12. “Rolling stone. ” SRDS. MRI, Apr. -May 2013. web. 12 sept. 2013. httpwwww. srds. com/ mediakits/rollingstone/demographics. html. O’Farrell, Renee. “Who Is Starbucks’ Target Audience? ” Small Business. Demand Media, n. d. Web. 12 Sept. 2013. http:// smallbusiness. chron. com/starbucks-target-audience-10553. html. Page, Johnny. “2. 3 Consumer Profile and Target Market for Starbucks Marketing Plan. “Scribd. Starbucks Coffee Company, 2010. Web. 12 Sept. 2013. http://www. scribd. com/doc/48355878/8/ Consumer-profile-and-Target-Market.


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