The 20th Anniversary of the PSL

Celebrating the 20th 
anniversary of the PSL

Every year for the past two decades, the Pumpkin Spice Latte (“PSL”) at Starbucks marked the unofficial start of fall, becoming a bona fide cultural icon in a way competitor coffee houses – all CPG brands across the board – have tried and failed to emulate. 

While the annual return of the PSL reliably brings excitement and anticipation for the return every August, as the creative and media agencies of record for Starbucks respectively, SPCSHP and Spark Foundry partnered to seek a solution that would continue the excitement around consumers’ love for the drink and sustain sales through November.

We were PSL-ing
like it was 2003

On October 10th, we launched on Instagram and TikTok, social platforms that our audiences look to for daily inspiration and nostalgia. For three days, everything we posted embodied the spirit of our celebration – to pumpkin like it was 2003. 

Teleporting our fans
back 25 years

We teleported our Instagram back twenty years, turning it into a relic of the era. A changed display name (xXStarBucks03Xx) and a perfectly pixelated avatar that would fit right in on AIM, we 2003-ified our page. We recreated scenes that unlocked our audience’s core memories, and, inspired by the teen magazines of the early 2000s, developed a personality quiz to determine which Pumpkin clique users would have been in. We also posted shareable, vintage T9 text messages users DMed to friends.

Ashanti created a birthday
song for the moment.

On TikTok, we tapped Grammy-award winning R&B artist Ashanti, who released a number one album in 2003, to pen a ready-for-radio homage to the PSL alongside a video that could have easily dominated the TRL charts. Main character energy activated. And in true pop culture fashion, we tapped entertainment editorial icon PEOPLE to co-produce, and create surrounding edit coverage.


850MM paid media impressions

7.1M video views

385K likes across channels

4X average engagement rate