By Courtney Purdin, Guest Writer

Starbucks’ holiday marketing isn’t just any average marketing campaign — for many, the unveiling of the famous red coffee cups marks the beginning of the holiday season.

Starbucks is a company that takes full advantage of the holiday season through its variety of specific holiday marketing and promotional methods. The red cups, seasonal drinks, holiday deals and themed merchandise perfectly capture all the things that we love about the holidays and turn them into profit.

The annual switch to the popular red holiday coffee cups Nov. 1  marks the beginning of the holiday season for many. The public goes crazy over Starbucks’ red holiday cups. Images of the cups become abundant on social media during the holiday season. In fact, the choice to post photos of Starbucks’ holiday cups acts as another form of advertising and promotion for the company.

Personally, I get pretty excited when filtered pictures of red cups fill my Instagram feed. The photos makes me want to listen to Christmas music, wear sweaters and, of course, go to Starbucks. It is a warm, fuzzy, profitable tradition.

While Starbucks uses its popular red cups to successfully rake in a holiday profit, the cups also promote Starbucks’ holiday drinks. This year, Starbucks is featuring the peppermint mocha, peppermint hot chocolate, gingerbread latte, eggnog latte and the caramel brulée latte.

Starbucks prominently displays advertisements for these drinks at all of its locations and, of course, through social media. These warm beverages invite customers in from the cold weather while also embracing already popular holiday flavors and spices, such as peppermint and nutmeg.

Starbucks management also realizes the holidays are a time to be with loved ones. To target this time, the company incorporates special holiday promotions that encourage customers to buy drinks for others and take advantage of the cozy Starbucks atmosphere to socialize.

For example, Starbucks had a buy-one-get-one free special on holiday drinks from Nov. 13-17 as a way to kick off the season, which it advertised as a way to “share the magic of the season.” Other promotions during the holidays have included  “buy five holiday drinks get one free.”

Starbucks’ holiday marketing campaign also extends to holiday merchandise in order to take advantage of the gift-giving season. Starbucks sells mugs, tumblers, reusable cup sleeves and even tree ornaments at most of its locations.

According to Bloomberg, Starbucks’ first-quarter profit increased 10 percent as consumers bought more specialty beverages during the holidays. Starbucks’ holiday marketing not only works, but it has become a nationwide phenomenon.

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