It's freaking freezing in Frisco, Texas, today and I'm frantically trying to get numb fingers to work on a smartphone screen, because I forgot to update the Pokemon GO app before we headed out for Starbucks after lunch. It's finally loaded and installed before it's my turn at the cash register, and I am momentarily pleased to see that there actually is a Pokestop here, with the little "sponsored" tag off in the corner, and that it plopped a good seven Pokeballs onto the screen when I spin it, showing off the special edition Frappuccino they're kicking off the sponsorship with.
"The what?" asked the cashier.
That's a less promising start than the Pokestop haul.
"Do you have a recipe for it...?" she asked. But, luckily, the manager overhears.
"You should have the recipe," the more senior staff interjected. "It's on the action item." She goes in the back momentarily to doublecheck. "Vanilla bean, blueberries, cotton candy--"
A few minutes later, I am presented with... this.
You know how Lulu in League of Legends says "it tastes purple?" Purple tastes of milk, whipped cream, blueberries, and sugar. It is not intensely sweet, but it's definitely Too Sweet for my palate. Sure, Frappuccinos in general are basically coffee milkshakes, but the cotton candy flavor at its base bumps it right out of at least my personal comfort zone.
Which may be intentional.
Starbucks' target demographic is a pretty broad and general spread, but it tends to settle into the middle-class, five bucks per coffee milkshake ain't no thing, sort of adult, who generally might not be the sort to be bothering with augmented reality games like Pokemon GO. Unless, that is, they're also parents. Parents who wouldn't normally bring kids to Starbucks, because who gives their wee Pokemon GO playing tyke anything with caffeine in it?
As my editor noted, the new Frappuccino is very much a kid's drink, and maybe that's the explicit intent: to convince parents taking their kids out on the town to stop by and grab a drink. Something hot and extremely caffeinated for themselves, and something sweet that the kids won't complain about.
Still would've rather had a cold brew, though.