Interestingly, a great antidote to my last post on coffee adverts appeared in today’s Metro newspaper.
Costa’s advert features a picture of Ace Valino, the winner of 2011’s Barista of the Year award.
It’s cheesy, Americanised (although the brand is UK based) and a bit gauche, but it does promote the right message: Costa cares about its coffee enough to employ baristas (rather than McDonald’s whose staff seem to be mixing things up a lot at the moment), and even more so, encourages their performance by holding an international competition to find the best barista. Overall it shows there is more to their coffee than pushing the right combination of buttons on a machine. Competition runner up Bruno Nasciemento even debunks the myth that merely using espresso is anathema to the end result. In a comment to the Northampton Chronicle he said: “I reckon the most important thing will be the espresso. That’s the heart of every other coffee. If you get the wrong espresso, if everything is wrong from the espresso it’s not going to be good”.
I’m not saying this ad ticks all the boxes: there’s no mention of corporate social responsibility (Costa also use Rainforest Alliance beans), there is no mention of price or the location of the cafe he works in, to test him out (Bahrain, since you ask). These points can be addressed in different campaigns, but if coffee flavour is your audience’s one objective, this should help swing their votes.
What would improve the ad? How about opening up the competition to all-comers? Get an independent panel to judge the entrants and see who wins it then. It would require careful management to avoid accusations of bias – but the result would be even better.