Does Starbucks Have Commercials? (+ Other Common FAQs)

You may have heard that Starbucks doesn’t need to do TV ads and commercials because its products are already so popular, and also that the company relies on advertising only by word of mouth.

However, you also occasionally see and hear about Starbucks TV spots for the holidays and new products. So, if you’re left wondering whether Starbucks has commercials or not, carry on reading to see what I found out!

Does Starbucks Have Commercials In [currentyear]?

Starbucks advertising is mostly by word of mouth, though the company has also had TV spots since 2007. Starbucks TV commercials usually spotlight new or special holiday menu items, and sometimes focus on the company, staff and social issues in [currentyear]. In fact, the annual Starbucks advertising budget in September 2020 was $258.5 million USD.

If you have more questions about how much Starbucks spends on advertising, their marketing strategy and which are their best commercials, keep reading for more facts!

Does Starbucks Have Any Commercials?

Many people believe that Starbucks doesn’t rely on commercials for advertisement, due to how well-known the company is.

While it’s true that Starbucks doesn’t really need to advertise, the company does have TV commercials that introduce new products or to share staff and customers’ stories.

Additionally, Starbucks also runs ads in the holiday season, and has a full-page ad in The New York Times every Sunday on social issues (i.e the environment).

However, it’s also true that the commercials are not central to Starbucks’ marketing strategy.

How Much Does Starbucks Spend On Advertising?

In the fiscal year ending in September 2020, Starbucks spent $258.8 million on advertising. In the previous year, this figure was $245.7 million.

While the above figure sounds like a lot of money, compared to other giant corporations, it’s a relatively small figure for an advertising budget.

For example, in 2020, McDonald’s spentmore than double the amount of Starbucks advertising expenses, at around $654.7 million on advertising worldwide.

So, typically big corporations, especially those in the restaurant industry, spend a large amount of money on advertising, leaving Starbucks as the exception. 

What Is The Reason For Starbucks’ Lack Of Advertising?

While Starbucks does have some TV ads, the commercials are not essential to the company’s success. In other words, Starbucks doesn’t need ads to maintain their market share.

However, Starbucks does have an innovative and successful marketing strategy, which relies on social media and customer engagement rather than traditional advertising.

Rather, Starbucks maintains customer engagement through social media, the loyalty rewards program, the mobile app, and activities centered around communities and issues such as the environment.

What Kind Of Advertising Does Starbucks Use?

What Kind Of Advertising Does Starbucks Use?

Starbucks spends less on advertising than other major corporations, but that doesn’t mean they don’t utilize different marketing strategies.

In fact, their marketing strategy uses a number of different channels such as social media and the Starbucks mobile app to connect with customers.

However, it’s true that the most reliable and effective form of advertising for Starbucks has been word of mouth. As former CEO Howard Schultz said, Starbucks stores are the company billboard.

Another very effective advertising technique used by Starbucks is product placement, when the brand appears in the background of films and tv shows.

Starbucks stores, products or just the logo appear in films (i.e The Devil Wears Prada, You’ve Got Mail and Fight Club), which in turn imprints the brand name and logo in the minds of those watching a film or series.

What Are Some Examples of Starbucks’ Advertising?

Starbucks’ media campaigns tend to be innovative and rely heavily on social media sharing by their followers.

Some examples of Starbucks advertising are the social media buzz around the Unicorn Frappuccino, a brightly-colored drink that was only available for a few weeks in 2017.

The original image of the drink was shared by fans on social media sites like Instagram and the hashtag #unicorn frappuccino is still linked to over 154,000 images.

Other Starbucks social media campaigns, shared through their website and social media, concern social issues, everyday heroes, and personal stories from Starbucks staff.

Starbucks ads also occasionally highlight new and seasonal products such as the immensely popular Pumpkin Spice Latte, which returns every fall.

What’s The Name Of The Girl In The Starbucks Ad?

Starbucks ads quite often feature baristas and other staff along with their personal stories.

The Starbucks 50th anniversary TV commercial in 2021 features a young barista who will be the first in her family to graduate from college.

GenevaMay, known as Gigi for short, is the daughter of immigrants from the Philippines and an aspiring musician, and she’s in her senior year of college thanks to the Starbucks free college program.

This ad is part of the Starbucks Stories series, which highlights the personal stories of staff, customers and everyday heroes.

What Is The Best Commercial For Starbucks Coffee?

It’s difficult to pinpoint a single Starbucks commercial as the best of all time, though you can find quite a few compilations of the best ads online.

Some of the ads like NBC’s Lilly Singh are funny and tongue-in-cheek, while others are more inspiring.

Starbucks ads are innovative and focus on the idea of building a community, while highlighting shared values such as volunteering, friendship, the neighborhood and the holiday spirit.

Starbucks ads also deal with serious issues such as social responsibility and environmental sustainability.

As many marketing analysts have noted, what Starbucks sells so successfully is not so much their products but the idea of a special meeting place.

What Is Starbucks’ First Commercial?

While it’s not clear what the first commercial for Starbucks was,, one of Starbucks’ earliest TV ads was the 2008 Free Coffee for Voting commercial.

To know more, you can also see our posts on why Starbucks is successful, Starbucks slogan, and Starbucks competitive advantages.


Starbucks has commercials, but the ads are not essential for their marketing success. Rather, Starbucks has an innovative marketing strategy that relies on customer engagement through social media, loyalty rewards and a focus on local and social issues.

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Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of

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