Gen-Z Opps: Starbucks shifts strategy to reach younger audiences

Sales Lead: In an effort to bolster brand awareness and engagement among Gen-Z, Starbucks is shifting from focusing on hot drinks to cold ones.

  • Younger audiences often have more discretionary money to spend, so Gen-Z is becoming more and more of a priority to this company.
  • The company will likely:
    • Return to heavier ad spend, especially via digital channels
    • Seek new digital and/or social agency partners
  • Target demographic
    • Gen-Z

Additional spending insights:

  • Broadcast insights (TV ad creative spend, effectiveness, impressions, and performance)
    • YTD spend: Starbucks has allocated roughly $36.9m toward national TV commercials.
    • Last year: The company allocated around $52m toward this channel last year after having spent 17% less, around $43.1m, in 2020.
    • 2022 ad programming: Starbucks's 2022 commercials have targeted millennials watching shows such as NFL Football, Good Morning America, Today, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and Friends.
  • Digital and social insights (digital ad spend, effectiveness, impressions, and performance)
    • YTD spend: So far this year, the company has spent approximately $45.2m on digital ads.
    • YTD data: Starbucks has earned ~5.3b digital impressions YTD via Instagram (55%), Facebook (26%), desktop video (17%), and Twitter (2%) ads.
    • Last year: In 2021, the company's estimated full-year spend decreased 4% to $82.9m from that of $86.3m in 2020.
  • Additional channel insights  
    • The company utilizes OOH, print (magazines), podcasts, and local broadcast.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
    • It also works with influencers such as Barack Obama.
    • Finally, Starbucks invests in cause marketing initiatives such as the Global Month of Good effort featured in the video above.

Additional agency insights:

  • Opportunity: Starbucks may need additional digital and/or social media management assistance to more effectively reach Gen-Z.
  • Current agency roster:

Insight Sources: Broadcast insights estimated by iSpot; digital spend insights estimated by Pathmatics; additional channel insights estimated by Kantar.