This new Starbucks beverage is going viral -- and it's all part of the coffee giant's strategy

Starbucks’ new ‘purple drink’ is taking over Instagram — and it’s great news for the coffee giant.

The beverage, made with passion iced tea, soy milk, vanilla syrup, and blackberries, has become a social media success without ever making Starbucks’ official menu.

Photos of the pastel, purple beverage are racking up hundred of likes on Instagram.

The purple drink follows in the footsteps of its secret menu sister, the pink drink, made with a mix of strawberry açaí refresher and coconut milk.

There’s a divide emerging between pink and purple drink fans, with Instagram user SorryNoSalad writing “If you’re still ordering that #pinkdrink… you’re doing it wrong.”

However, the two drinks are more similar than different.

Both drinks have been making waves, not necessarily for their flavours (though fans say they’re refreshing and delicious), but instead due to their pastel, aesthetically-pleasing appearances.

The power of a pretty drink is, at first, somewhat discouraging.

Why does appearance trump taste? Who cares how gorgeous a drink is if it isn’t delicious? What happened to not judging a Starbucks beverage by its cover?

However, a little digging into Starbucks’ menu reveals the rise of the Instagram-friendly beverage goes far beyond purple and pink drinks.

Even when it comes to more gourmet beverages, aesthetics are increasingly important in how Starbucks structures its menu.

With drinks such as the Nitro Cold Brew and Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew, Starbucks has taken care to debut beverages that don’t simply past coffee snobs’ taste test, but also customers’ Instagram test.

“We wanted it to be an experiential beverage,” Starbucks’ coffee education specialist Mackenzie Karr told Business Insider about the Nitro Cold Brew’s appearance. “We wanted to highlight that our baristas are hand crafting this beverage in our stores every day.”

Starbucks is the No. 1 fast-food chain on Instagram. Customers provide the chain with an incredible amount of free advertising when they post photos of their beverages.

The purple drink may not be on Starbucks’ official menu, but make no mistake — the success of the beverage is no mistake for the chain. It’s just another step in the coffee giant’s incredibly successful Instagram strategy.

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