The chairman of President Obama’s Global Development Council just learned about Starbucks’ secret menu through his 11-year-old daughter and wrote a very excited post about the viral marketing campaign for Bloomberg View. “It all started a few weeks ago when my daughter asked to go to Starbucks for a cotton candy Frappuccino,” writes Mohamed El-Erian. When he queried her about it, “She replied that it was one of the ‘great drinks’ that her school friends had discovered recently at Starbucks. She said they couldn't stop talking about the drink, in person and on social media.” The shock comes, of course, when he realizes that the drink is not on the menu at Starbucks, but that the staff knows how to make one and is even amenable to re-creating Frappuccino recipes off the Internet.
Other business outlets are picking up the story, attempting to explain how Starbucks increases its, “cool factor” through the word-of-mouth tips. In truth, analysts do credit the secret menu with keeping Starbucks’ sales up—the coffee chain has had 17 straight quarters of at least 5 percent growth—but if parents start grilling kids about Frappucinos during carpool, Starbucks might need a new campaign.