Starbucks has recently launched a hyper-relevant venture with WeChat, as one of the first major overseas brands to partner with the social platform. WeChat, or Weixin as it is known in China, is the largest instant messaging platform in the country, incorporating elements of Instagram, Whatsapp and Skype, allowing users to send photos, instant messages, videos and location data, as well as scan and create QR codes. In the past Starbucks has found Autumn to be a quiet sales period for the brand. To boost sales the brand launched a limited edition beverage called Refresha, based on green, unroasted coffee bean extract, providing a sweet and light caffeinated drink.
The campaign sought to refresh consumers physically and mentally, as well as encourage social sharing and generating multiple impressions on a relatively low budget. Refreshment, the campaign emphasises, is not only quenching your thirst but also refreshing your mood.
Promotional material was placed in-store and customers were asked to interact with their mobiles to receive bonus content.
WeChat users are required to befriend Starbucks by scanning the QR code found on cup sleeves, in-store and posters, (shaking their phone, 摇一摇 or ‘Choking’ is also used as a way to gain refreshing content). The brand then asked each WeChat friend how they were feeling today, at which point users message Starbucks one of 26 emoticons that best exemplifies their mood, in return they will receive a customised song aimed at enhancing their state of mind, delivering audio messages in an emotionally engaging way.