April 20, 2017

When GMA calls your house…the effect of viral social media

viral social mediaSo in case you haven’t seen the video about the Starbucks barista who rants against the new Unicorn frappuccino, it’s posted below.  My connection to it? My stepson Braden is the barista, lol. Apparently, the video went viral and was picked up by USA Today off of Twitter and the social media ball just rolled from there. About an hour after the USA Today story hit the internet, people from as far as Ireland started calling Braden asking for radio interviews. A producer from Good Morning America called the home phone to ask him for a statement and his video was aired on GMA the next day, with Michael Strahan saying he was going to watch it again because he’d never seen anything so funny.  Let me tell you, the effects of viral social media are insane people.

My husband is panicking because, like any 19-year-old, my stepson sometimes speaks before thinking. Hence the rant on social media against a product his own employer makes…cough. But hopefully, the increased publicity and increased sales (everyone we know is already planning on hitting Starbucks later to order ten of these…) will be enough to save his job. Starbucks corporate met with him and insisted Braden pull the video from all social media to stop any negative publicity, but it was already out there, already viral, there was no stopping this train… While Braden complained about how hard and messy the drink was to make in his “rant’, he did not bring up the sugar content, which is what most of the backlash against the drink is about.

Being a blogger means I deal with social media all the time, but this viral video is one more example of how powerful social media can be. Should you film some crazy rant about the price of Urban Decay eye palettes while dressed like a pineapple and hope it goes viral? No. But if you are getting frustrated with your results on social media remember that being famous for laughing hysterically like Chewbacca can work for some people, but it’s probably not the kind of attention that will help promote your blog in a positive light. Instead, think about producing videos with DIY instructions or tutorials for things related to your blog. This is what has made people like  Michelle Phan and Bethany Mota attain celebrity status. Still plagued with questions on how to use social media to promote your blog? Check out this article by the Social Media Examiner.

The effects of viral social media

While Braden is a good looking and very personable kid with an amazing heart, we don’t want him to become “William Hung famous” (famous for being a little ridiculous). Advice on how to counsel him about properly managing this sudden attention would be greatly appreciated below!  For any inquiries related to this video, please contact press@starbucks.com.



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  1. Lol! I don’t do starbucks. I’m just not a coffee drinker. So I missed half the hype until it started showing up in photos all over SM. I wonder if it makes your teeth blue? I am trying to get comfortable in front of the camera myself…

  2. Omg I love him! This video made me laugh so hard!! I heard so many mixed reviews on the drink. Some loved it, some hate it and some are like it’s ok but won’t buy again. I haven’t tried it.

  3. I actually have seen tons of videos regarding the drink, but I hadn’t seen your sons. I’m not a huge Starbucks fan because I can get the same great tasting coffee/iced coffee/mochas/etc at Dunkin for a fraction of SB’s price. However, my daughter fractured her pinky finger, and has been down and out. I wanted to treat her to this drink, and took her to both the locations in our town…they were sold out. I am so bummed that we probably won’t get to taste the biggest hyped up Starbucks drinks since pumpkin spice!

  4. I hadn’t heard about the rant yet. But I was aware there was tons of stir over this new drink. The calories and sugar in it are insane. I have a very close friend who works for them and she feels the same way. It’s a frustration to be sure. My advice is don’t post rants until the next day, give it 24 hours before sharing. Makes you rethink it and decide if it’s worth it. Hope he doesn’t lose his job.

  5. I haven’t seen this video. He sure is passionate about it 🙂 I know it looks pretty but can’t imagine the amount of sugar that’s in it.

    • There’s 75 grams of sugar in these things! I think the backlash over this whole thing is because people found out how sugar-laden it was and started having a fit. He was just saying they are difficult to make. But they are really gross, lol.

  6. I think Starbucks needs to get a sense of humor and give this guy a break. The publicity probably helped Starbucks even though he talked bad about them.

  7. This video cracked me up! I feel the pain though. I used to serve and bartend, and there were just days that you didn’t want to deal and everyone wanted he most complicated drink on the menu… like 10 mojitos in a row is murder! lol

  8. Social media is an amazing tool and yes, so much different than the phone gossip we were subjected to as kids. I found his “rant” funny, and I can understand it, because I was a carhop in the 70s and sometimes I felt like this after making hundreds of ice cream cones.

  9. This sounds like such a sweeet drink!! Ugh, too sweet that is for sure. haha.
    Your son is hysterical in his video rant! I hope he doesn’t have to make too many of these drinks at once again 🙂 .

  10. It’s really interesting to think about how powerful social media is. His video was well edited, humorous, and about a hot topic. It had everything needed to go viral, but doing anything against your employer is never wise. I’m sure he learned a valuable lesson.

  11. Social Media is really a powerful tool. This is really cool, and i’m sure he is learning a lot from it!

  12. Krystle Cook says:

    Social media can definitely reach a lot of people and get them talking. I have heard so much about the Unicorn Frapp and I am not sure what to believe until I actually try it.

  13. This is the first I have ever even heard of this rant. I saw this drink and was like “YUCK” that was my first thought. I had no desire to even try it. I agree, though I am constantly telling my kids to really be aware of what they are saying and the when and where.

  14. I’m far more worried about him using his phone to make videos while driving Than losing his job.

  15. The amount of sugar in that drink is ridiculous! I’m sure your step son will be fine, Starbucks is a company that markets itself as open to employee feedback, and certainly he’s not railing against the company as a whole so much as this one silly drink.

  16. I saw a teaser of the Unicorn Frap rant, but didn’t click on it because I was “supposed to be doing work.” I just watched it, and the video is hilarious. I was going to be one of those people running in to try the Frappucino, but when I saw on twitter about the sugar content….oh no…can’t do that.

  17. I saw his video on social media and had a laugh. As a former barista, I’ve been in his shoes. Everyday I would leave Starbucks smelling like coffee from head to toe. Milk would be splatters everywhere too and yes, I was sticky! I am sure he had no idea his video was going to blow up like it did, but I think the best thing you can coach him on is to think before he speaks, to anyone, and to have a planned couple of bullet points memorized.

  18. I’d heard about the rant but hadn’t managed to see it – how funny! I imagine it is so popular because the world seems unicorn obsessed at the moment, and I’m sure the drink is very ‘Instagram’. I don’t think it is coming out in the UK so I’m sure British SB baristas are rejoicing!

  19. I understand that as a parent we want to make sure that our kids post responsibly. This one’s a roller coaster ride, who would have thought that GMA would call you and feature your son’s viral video. There’s been a lot of talk about it and I’ve even seen a twitter feed that’s packed with baristas complaints about making the drink.

  20. I’m glad he did it. That drink is atrocious — to make and to consume. Yes, he was not a good employee, but it was a public service.

  21. I saw the video and laughed, like so many others, before ever knowing your connection. And I thought the exact same thing you are saying in this post. He’s young and had no idea this would happen – but he doesn’t say anything horrible and he genuinely appears to love his job beyond this day. I’m sure many are happy that drink is sold out!

  22. Like everyone else I saw the video and thought it was so funny. I hope he doesn’t lose his job, but somehow I think the publicity would be bad for Starbucks if he did. Maybe Starbucks will take a lesson from this and learn that these types of drinks are taxing on baristas. I recently saw an article about how the ordering feature on the app is frustrating baristas in high traffic Starbucks. I think you do have to think about what you post because you never know what might happen.

  23. Thats too funny his video went viral! I think Starbucks shouldnt just make pretty drinks, but ones that actually taste good too. I feel like it looks bad on them when all they care about is making sales because of some stupid picture worthy drink.

  24. I haven’t actually watched the video before and it made me laugh so much. Well done him on going viral! I totally understand the downside of it – people can be so vile online. And all Starbucks drinks have high content of sugar – so I’m not surprised how sugary this one must be! x

  25. I totally agree on how strong the social media is. We really have to think before we click because once it’s out there, its there. Good to hear you and your hubby are there to guide your step son about how to deal with this.

  26. You are so right! I wrote about people sharing too much on social media. I really think people don’t understand that what you post stays around forever and it represents you.

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