The only time anyone has spoken to me on the Tube (without begging, encouraging me to repent, or ordering me to 'move down') involved coffee.
A pack of Nespresso capsules was sticking out of my bag - the only encouragement a fellow passenger needed to engage me in a detailed conversation about my preferred 'grand cru'.
Coffee lovers, erm, love coffee. It evokes passion, and that's just what's been missing from the mega coffee-shops - they tend to elevate the experience, rather than the product.
Many 'baristas' exemplify this - they are the mechanics of the food and drink world. Highly trained, but ultimately robotic. Yes, Starbucks, even a robot could ask my name.
Coffee shops need to recapture their humanity, and that's what Costa has done with its latest ad.
This is classically salient advertising. Catchy tune, quirky characters, an interesting setting and a heavy dose of surrealism. It has attracted half a million views on YouTube, testament to how memorable and engaging it is.
Kiss' (uncharacteristic) disco tune forms the backbone of the ad, and leaves the viewer in no doubt as to its message. So begins the entertainment: 76 very human (although seemingly bodiless) baristas serenade us about their passion for coffee.
Are they buried in beans or are they 'coffee heads'? No matter: either way, they're into the stuff, and that's what works with this ad.
In a market where the only point of difference is, arguably, the design of your cup, the people who serve it matter. The production is impressive, with so many baristas-cum-actors to synchronise.
This ad also builds on the '7/10 prefer Costa' campaign nicely, giving us a reason why people prefer the brand's coffee, but does passion equate to quality? I love coffee, but it doesn't mean I make a good cup.
It's sad that a category as non-utilitarian as coffee should be in any way comparable to supermarkets and financial-services aggregators. It's clear, however, that coffee has become another sector flooded with undifferentiated brands. I challenge you to remember who you bought your last coffee from in an unfamiliar railway station (probably Costa, actually).
This is a great ad for advertising - when nothing else differentiates your brand, your advertising certainly can. Just ask Comparethemarket.
The one place where real coffee innovation has happened recently, however, is with the arrival and elevation to near-religion of Nespresso. It's Nestle that has realised that coffee lovers care about the bean, too.
Brand strategy verdict: 8 out of 10
Brings personality to a category in dire need of it and cuts through brilliantly. However, is staff passion enough in a category where the product is the real hero?
|Adwatch (Nov 7) Top 20 recall: Costa Coffee
|1=||(–)||Ocean Spray||Arnold Worldwide/
|7||(–)||Heinz Soup||Abbott Mead
|10||(–)||Iams||Saatchi & Saatchi
|11||(–)||Ibis Hotels||BETC Paris/MPG||26|
|12||(–)||Kwik-Fit||Adam & Eve DDB/
|13||(–)||John West||JWT Cheetham
|14=||(13=)||Asda||Saatchi & Saatchi/
|17||(-)||Coke Zero||Publicis Conseil/
|18=||(–)||Lynx||Victors & Spoils/
This article was first published on