unicorn Frap

Because we sort of have a thing for work that “rises above the blah blah,” it seems appropriate to address the two biggest risks of April: this Pepsi commercial that turned out to be an epic failure and this Starbucks unicorn drink which was a surprise victory.

Despite Anthony Bourdain’s distaste for it, millions of Americans purchased the Unicorn Frappuccino. For a brand that’s built on delivering sophisticated, nature-inspired flavors like Toasted Coconut Cold Brew, this was a pretty sizable risk. But by making the libation a limited time offer, Starbucks was able to show their fun, unpredictable side while minimizing long-term risk to their brand. And that, friends, is a brand fantasy come to real life.

Meanwhile, at Pepsi: the fallout from their Kendall Jenner-based blunder is still sending shivers down every CMO’s spine. So where did they go wrong? Well, almost everywhere. But specifically, Pepsi took a huge risk—attempting to comment and capitalize on the cultural climate of the country—without knowing much about what they were commenting upon. Essentially, they took a risk, but failed to make it a calculated risk.

Calculated risks make brand fantasies come to real life.

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risk and reward

Look, the old adage is true: no risk, no reward. But if your brand can find a way to hedge risk with smart, strategic thinking, you can minimize your worldwide-laughingstock risk and still achieve a unicorn level reward. (Or, should we say, dragon level?!)

Have a magical weekend, everyone!
– Your risk-friendly friends at Brokaw.