Starbucks Pushes ‘Snow Day’ on Facebook, Twitter

Coffee giant uses clever real-time ad buy

Headshot of Christopher Heine

When reports of an impending East Coast snowstorm started going around Wednesday, Starbucks' marketing team in New York called up the brand's headquarters in Seattle and quickly pieced together a plan to target Facebook and Twitter conversations around the blizzard, dubbed Nemo by weather forecasters.

By the time the white stuff began to fly from New York City to Maine, snow-themed ads were floating into view for Facebook and Twitter users. The creative centered on a snow day theme and utilized an image of a warm cup of java, appearing as Facebook Marketplace Ads and Twitter Promoted Tweets.

On Twitter, the ads have rendered for viewers who click on #Nemo, #blizzard and other related hash-tags. Starbucks spokesperson Linda Mills suggested the brand's marketing team might not be done this weekend with weather-related, real-time social ad buys.

"They are executing some of these ideas as we speak," she told Adweek. "We always want to stay highly relevant to what's going on. We want to be a part of [consumers'] decisions as they get ready for the weekend in terms of their product needs, such as coffee."

Whether it's presidential politics or Super Bowl marketing, real-time buys on Facebook and Twitter seem to be an emerging practice—a prime example being what Oreo pulled off during Sunday night's Superdome blackout.

@Chris_Heine Christopher Heine is a New York-based editor and writer.