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Caribou Coffee returns to TV advertising

Caribou Coffee returns to TV advertising

The coffeehouse chain’s 'Life is' campaign is part of a systemwide brand refresh

Caribou Coffee returned to television this week with its first broadcast commercial since 2010.

The 30-second spot depicts Caribou customers savoring life while camping with family and friends. It carries the slogan, “Life is more than coffee; that’s why there’s coffee.”

The TV campaign is part of a systemwide brand refresh that also will update the chain’s packaging and in-store point-of-purchase materials to carry similar lifestyle photography and life-affirming sayings built on the “Life is” theme.

Caribou’s new marketing campaign is a continuation of its messaging around the tagline, “Life is short; stay awake for it,” said Alfredo Martel, vice president of marketing for Minneapolis-based Caribou. That slogan will close all future commercials, he added, but for the first spot, the phrase speaks to how the brand wants to fit in with consumers’ lives and routines.

“This campaign is to keep going where we left off, and what we’ve done is centered it a little more on how our customers and fans interact with coffee,” he said. “For people who are our hardcore fans and are passionate about coffee, that’s a great copy line that says we take our coffee seriously, but not ourselves too seriously.”

Caribou has several similar slogans planned for upcoming commercials, such as “Life is taking a stand while sitting down,” which will promote that all of Caribou’s coffee blends are certified as sustainable by the Rainforest Alliance.

The brand also erected a 3-D billboard in downtown Minneapolis that is meant to resemble a giant Caribou Coffee cup.

Last week, the 610-unit coffeehouse chain began selling two limited-time beverages, the Biscotti Mocha and the Café Milan Latte. However, Martel said, the broadcast campaign will focus on highlighting the different varieties of coffee blends Caribou offers and, as a matter of differentiating from other coffee players, some of the life occasions where each blend would fit with customers.

For example, Martel said, Caribou ads suggest that its Obsidian blend “is the rocket to get you going” on a slow Monday, or that its decaf blend is perfect for an occasion when the same customer wants to curl up and relax.

“Everybody and their grandmother says they’re selling premium coffee and are craft-roasting, so the functional elements of premium coffee are being appropriated by the likes of McDonald’s and other QSRs and becoming just that: functional,” Martel said. “So how do we create these blends and differentiate on flavors? How do these different blends connect to different need states?”

That message will be amplified even further in a marketing campaign to come for Caribou’s consumer packaged goods channel, he added. The chain likely would back off buying space on TV for the campaign, but still would find other digital venues for its video creative, he said.

“We thought relaunching this campaign was a unique selling proposition and merited the TV investment,” Martel said. “We thought it should be put out quickly with the reach that TV gives you. … We simply are not going to become a TV-dependent brand. We are in a race and are committed to getting as close to consumers as possible. We want to be just as worthy of space on your smartphone screen.”

Caribou Coffee, a 2012 Golden Chain honoree, went private in a $340 million acquisition by German luxury-brand company Joh. A. Benckiser is December.

Contact Mark Brandau at [email protected].
Follow him on Twitter: @Mark_from_NRN

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