On Nov. 12, Taylor Swift released “Red (Taylor’s Version),” a re-recording of one of her most popular albums. This version of the album consists of 30 tracks, which is eight more than the original deluxe version, and clocks in at over two hours long. The re-recording has been highly anticipated ever since Swift’s announcement and tracklist reveal. Thus, many companies unsurprisingly found it integral to their business model to structure at least a portion of their social media presence around the album’s release. Companies from Etsy to Duolingo were showing off their Swiftie statuses on “Red” Friday, allowing them to reach a broader audience.
Etsy’s Red Scarfs
Etsy celebrated the release date of “Red (Taylor’s Version)” by tweeting an image of a woman in a red knit hat and scarf, placing emphasis on “new twists on classics.” The scarf is akin to the iconic garment that Swift left at Jake Gyllenhaal’s sister’s house, which Gyllenhaal — Swift’s ex — notably kept even after their relationship ended. All of these details and more are documented in the song “All Too Well,” which was one of the most highly-anticipated new tracks, as it was re-recorded and is now 10 minutes long and accompanied by a short film.
Rare Beauty’s Red Makeup
Rare Beauty is a vegan and cruelty-free makeup brand owned by Selena Gomez, one of Swift’s best friends. Considering how close Gomez and Swift are — Swift even admitted that she “will do anything to bring up Selena Gomez” — it is no surprise that Rare Beauty took a chance to promote them both. The company posted a TikTok recommending products to wear while listening to “Red (Taylor’s Version).”
The brand listed red blush, a classic red lipstick — a staple to Swift’s outfits during the original “Red” era — and waterproof eyeliner and mascara, which Rare Beauty ensured wouldn’t wash off while listeners cry to the album. They also assured viewers that the makeup would last for the duration of “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault).”
Starbucks’ Red Cup
Swift partnered with Starbucks to rename the grande caramel nonfat latte, Swift’s favorite drink, as “Taylor’s Latte,” making it more accessible to fans. On the morning of the album’s release, the company tweeted a video featuring the red scarf from “All Too Well” and glasses similar to the ones Swift wore in the “22” music video to encourage consumers to order the drink, served in their signature red holiday cup.
Watch it all begin again…with a Grande Caramel Nonfat Latte (Taylor’s Version).🧣 pic.twitter.com/Ww1g9tMs26
— Starbucks Coffee (@Starbucks) November 12, 2021
Starbucks also created an 88-song Taylor Swift playlist called “Starbucks Lovers,” a reference to a commonly misheard line from Blank Space: “Got a long list of ex-lovers.” It is available through Spotify and got quite a bit of playtime in Starbucks stores across the country on the release day of “Red (Taylor’s Version).”
This marketing campaign was the only one, as far as I know, that Swift actually played a role in developing, but its success was limited. Some Starbucks locations went above and beyond to celebrate the re-recording, while others did not even know what “Taylor’s Latte” was. It seems that this special was too rushed to be standardized across the globe, and it disappointed many Swifties that couldn’t take part.
Sour Patch Kids’ Red Flavor
The Sour Patch Kids’ Twitter account started their Friday by using the red gummy to wish a good morning to “everyone except Jake Gyllenhaal… actually where is he I just wanna talk.” Gyllenhaal inspired many of the songs on “Red;” after hearing them, it makes sense that the company wants to take some of their sour out on him.
“Scream” Movies’ Red Blood
The Twitter account for the “Scream” horror movie franchise honored Swift’s new release exactly at midnight. They created a collage consisting of bloody knives, characters dressed in red and a mobile app capable of unlocking doors captioned “Red (Ghostface’s Version).”
Olive Garden’s Red Sauce
On Nov. 12, Olive Garden switched up its slogan “We’re all family here” and replaced it with “We’re all fans here.” The restaurant company also tweeted an image of a phone playing “Red (Taylor’s Version)” at a dinner table in front of the chain’s complimentary breadsticks and marinara.
Duolingo’s Red Beak
Duolingo has become known for its presence on TikTok, following videos of the company’s bird mascot wreaking havoc on the workplace or responding threateningly to people who admit they have not completed their daily lessons. In anticipation of “Red (Taylor’s Version),” one of the bird’s shenanigans was painting its beak with red lipstick and “practicing my emotionally wrecked wall slide for ‘All Too Well.’” And, of course, it would not be an homage to Swift without an Easter egg: The audio used for this video included the lyric “lost in translation.”
The Duolingo bird became a confirmed Swiftie by its responses to the comments under its TikTok; the bird “was gatekeeping ‘Last Kiss’” and assured viewers that “blow[ing] up Jake’s phone with push notifications” was on its to-do list.
As time passes and technology evolves, it becomes increasingly important for brands to appeal to consumers’ shifting demographics. Every day, more and more people become Swifties, so it makes sense for brands to creatively plan reactions to her new releases. All of the business moves documented here, as well as the plenty more that I did not list, received mostly positive feedback from Swifties, who excitedly approved of each company being “out-ed” as fellow fans.