Pumpkin Spice Impact Report

Oct 30, 2018

Fall is full of reasons for people around the world to take to social media and chat or share information about seasonally-themed cultural moments. From Halloween-themed programming and films to pumpkin-flavored beverages to the start of football, 4C looked into the social media engagement around this fall’s biggest moments.

While the official first day of the season falls in late September, the annual release of Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte has become the unofficial beginning of fall. Each year, when the popular fall beverage becomes available, it triggers a social media frenzy. During the week of this year’s release, mentions of #pumpkinspicelatte peaked at 18,748 on August 28th, the day the drink became available at Starbucks locations around the US. Since the August release, #pumpkinspicelatte and associated hashtags have amassed over 142,000 mentions.

Twitter engagements for Pumpkin Spice hashtags

Starbucks isn’t the only coffee chain offering a Pumpkin Spice Latte. Among others, the coffee giant’s biggest rival, Dunkin, has also added the drink to its menu in recent years. Using 4C Brand Compass, we looked into the audiences for each. Audiences for both coffee chains show an interest in world hunger relief, but their brand, TV, and celebrity preferences differ. The audience engaging with Starbucks on social media, mainly falling into the Enjoying the Good Life persona, is interested in financial planning, Lady Gaga, and Omaha Steaks, while Dunkin’s audience, typically Rich Provincials, prefers discount shopping, Brianna Decker, and Nestle PureLife.

Audience insights for coffee brands

Coffee isn’t the only beverage turning orange this year. With its annual offering of Octoberfest and Pumpkin Ale, Sam Adams is a seasonal favorite amongst beer drinkers, and Captain Morgan is also serving up a pumpkin spice edition this year. The audiences for both brands fall mainly into the Wine and Cheese RVers persona, with the Sam Adams audience taking interest in personal finance and world hunger relief, while the Captain Morgan audience is geared more towards financial planning and mental health care.

Audience insights for alcohol brands

Every October, films and TV shows in the Halloween spirit capture consumer attention. This year, several new releases have seen engagement across social media, with Universal Pictures’ latest installment in the Halloween franchise leading the pack. Netflix’s new shows, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and The Haunting of Hill House have also gained attention, along with Freeform’s newly-month long programming spree, 31 Nights of Halloween.


When it comes to Halloween costumes, TV and film characters tend to serve as inspiration every year. This year, hits like The CW’s Riverdale and films Black Panther and Deadpool, which have dominated ratings, box office figures, and social media conversation, are sure to inspire many costumes. Despite not actually airing any new episodes in 2018, two of this year’s most engaged series, Netflix’s Stranger Things and HBO’s Game of Thrones, will also likely serve as costume inspiration. 

Social Media Engagements for costume-inspiring TV and movies

The return of NFL season is another pillar of the annual fall TV season. This year, surrounded with political controversy, NFL ratings are on the rise, and advertisers are seeing the benefit of reaching the sport’s large audience. Using our Teletrax TV monitoring technology, we found the top TV advertisers during NFL programming in August and September. Advertisers like Verizon, Geico, and Progressive have dominated NFL advertising so far this season.

US TV ad rankings for NFL Football - August 2018 US TV ad rankings for NFL Football - September 2018

As pop-culture moments continue to play out across screens, we’ll be monitoring consumer engagement around these events. Stay tuned for more Impact Reports, and subscribe to our newsletter to get updates in your inbox.