Marketing Currents - Business and Marketing Current Events

The creator of Starbucks’ famous Pumpkin Spice Latte said it almost had a very different name


Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte has become as synonymous with fall as cardigan sweaters and “When Harry Met Sally” rewatches. 

Click here to read the story at

Discussion Questions:

  1. Starbucks introduced the Pumpkin Spice Latte twenty years ago. Why do you think they wanted to add a new product to the menu?
  2. Why do you think a product name is important?
  3. According to this story, why did Starbucks’ initially consider calling the Pumpkin Spice Latte something else?
  4. What were two other options that were under consideration?
  5. Do you think they made the right call? Why or why not?
  6. What is product development?
  7. This story references Starbucks’ “research and development” space. What does that have to do with product development?
  8. What factors were considered when Starbucks’ developed the PSL?
  9. What is product life cycle?
  10. Which stage of the product life cycle best describes the Pumpkin Spice Latte’s current position?
  11. What is an industry trend?
  12. What is brand extension?
  13. How might the Starbucks’ PSL illustrate an example of both an industry trend and brand extension?
  14. What is seasonality when it comes to marketing?
  15. How might this news story represent an example?
Chris Lindauer
After working for nearly a decade in professional sports, Chris Lindauer, formed Sports Career Consulting to provide unique sports business education opportunities in and out of the classroom. In the eighteen years (and counting) that followed, Chris has inspired thousands of students to pursue their passions and explore the career of their dreams. He currently lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife, two teenage daughters and their dog.