Ready to drink

Establishing category leadership for Starbucks ready-to-drink


When Starbucks entered the ready-to-drink (RTD) coffee market in Europe, it was relatively under developed with low consumer penetration.

The brand instantly became one of the biggest players in the category but growth was constrained by its siting in the supermarket milk aisle rather than in the on-the-go aisles where more popular soft drink and snacking brands were positioned.

This impacted the understanding of the role that chilled coffee could play in consumers’ lives which further exacerbated the problem.

Over a four-year period, Space helped Starbucks address this problem, drive significant growth across its RTD product range and, ultimately, establish category leadership.

With Starbucks securing a more advantageous in-store siting, we set about creating a series of shopper-first campaigns across grocery, convenience and e-commerce to support their three RTD platforms (Chilled Classics, Doubleshot and Frappacino). And, to aid consumer understanding of the range and the role of the individual products, audiences were targeted in their moment of need through a combination of OOH, digital, influencer and brand experiences.

Driving awareness and trial of the Starbucks RTD range was key especially given the number of on-going new product launches. And, with a strong 75% trial to conversion rate, putting product in hand via a series of innovative brand experiences was critical to success. Launching their first ever non-coffee chilled drink, chocolate, we created a magnificent chocolate sculpture of the brand icon, the siren, in Westfield and offered consumers a personalised chocolate bar.

To support the chilled classic range, an immersive summer garden was created for consumers to reset their day whilst a winter version promoted the limited edition red cup chilled classic. We partnered with Color Run in Manchester, London and Brighton to sample Frappacinos whilst a giant slide was the centrepiece of our activation for Doubleshot.

Taking advantage of the footprint of Starbucks Coffee Houses in both the UK and France, we partnered with this network of owned and franchise stores to offer over 2 million customers the opportunity to trial a free chilled coffee via a coupon on the sleeve of their hot coffees. This simple yet logistically challenging activation was the first time the Starbucks Coffee Houses and Starbucks RTD businesses had worked together.

We supported the EMEA region with shopper marketing toolkits to support new product launches and developed the brand’s first ever multi-market on-pack promotion. Featuring on 90 million cups across 20 European markets and utilising AR technology to bring the skyline of Seattle to life, consumers had the chance to win a trip to the home of Starbucks.

Over the first three years of support, Starbucks RTD business in the UK more than doubled in value from £23m to £51.5m and became the No.1 brand in the category with a market share four times that of the nearest competitor.