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Special Project

Special Project
From the 16th Annual Shorty Awards

Starbucks “Pumpkin Like It’s 2003”

Audience Honor in Branded Content


Starbucks and SPARK (Starbucks’ media agency) wanted to leverage custom, cross-platform content with relevant Dotdash Meredith brands to create buzz and awareness for the 20th birthday of the iconic Pumpkin Spice Latte. It was important that our custom content be all-encompassing in the sense that it would engage and hold appeal for both the drink’s original fan base as well as younger Gen Z consumers — the next generation of PSL drinkers.

Strategy and Execution

Starbucks wanted a big birthday moment to celebrate the Pumpkin Spice Latte’s 20th, and we delivered. Our hero creative was a bespoke music video on TikTok, and an array of supporting content spread the birthday messaging even further. 

Our cross-platform branded content campaign was a celebration of early-aughts nostalgia. We leaned into a mix of two brands — Byrdie, known for its authentic, diverse, younger-leaning voice (to appeal to a Gen Z audience), and PEOPLE, our iconic, Millennial-focused pop culture and entertainment brand — to bring the PSL birthday to life: 


The strategic mix of leveraging Byrdie and PEOPLE to amplify our campaign across generations was a success. Our total content engagement rates were nearly 4x benchmark averages, and our custom TikTok garnered more than 5.6 million views across platforms, indicating reach and exposure at scale. Ashanti's own organic posts had more than 1 million views, and overall sentiment was incredibly positive with a range of celebrities and brands joining the conversation to congratulate our two icons on celebrating 20 years. Commenters included Old Navy, DoorDash, Delta Airlines, Ja Rule, Fat Joe, and more.


Video for Starbucks “Pumpkin Like It’s 2003”

Entrant Company / Organization Name

The Foundry at Dotdash Meredith in partnership with SPARK, Starbucks


Entry Credits