Coffee is a big deal in America. All you have to do is walk into a classroom, business meeting, or even a grocery store, and you’ll see many people holding coffee cups or to-go mugs. Do a quick search on the internet and you’ll see plenty of coffee mugs that have something to do with someone not being a “morning person” or that the amount of coffee they drink being correlated to how nice or happy they are. So why is coffee such a staple? Why did a bean become so popular?
Centuries ago, coffee began its journey as a staple in the Western World. Described as a berry, coffee was attributed as a cure all that was adored. Coffee houses began to spring up around England and eventually the New World. The owners of these houses, called coffee men, would read the daily newspapers to their customers while they drank their coffee. This became a gathering place and the place where people would go to receive news, slowly replacing the position of the town crier (Presbrey).
Two centuries later, in an industrialized world, many people had traditional 9-5 jobs. Coffee companies wanted to sell more, and ad men had to figure out how they could do this. They could advertise the drink as a morning brew to go with breakfast, but then people might not have it at dinner. The same could occur if they flipped the tables. However, by creating a time of day that people could have coffee as a pick me up, coffee was not restricted to a particular meal. This new freedom helped them to expand their market as they created a new one, which they named coffee break and set it at 4pm. The creation of the coffee break further instilled coffee’s place in American culture (Twitchell).
Coffee is a staple and very likely will continue to be a staple for many years to come. This is due to many things, but was specifically evaluated in When Ads Work. Coffee companies over the years have greatly expanded, spreading across their home countries and out into the world beyond. These companies have difficulties gaining percentage increases the larger they are. In other words, when you’re selling 100 units a month and then start selling 110 a month you’ve gotten a 10% increase. But when you’re regularly selling 1 million units a month, it takes more effort to get even 10,000 more units sold, which is a slim 1% increase. However, the same goes in the other direction, since a temporary 1% decrease wouldn’t hurt the company. Because of this position in the market, a large company that specializes in necessities, can survive a fall in the market without too much of a bruise (Jones).
Of these large and growing companies, some deserve some special interest. One in particular is not a company originally founded by one person, but by a group of many. Juan Valdez was directed by the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation in 2012 to generate business outside of their current market. This helped them to increase sales. Now their coffee is sold in some airlines, in most continents, and is becoming as nationally recognized as names such as Folgers and Starbucks. This character had humble beginnings in 1959 when Juan Valdez was created to represent the coffee growers and their traditions (Juan Valdez).
Looking to the future, we see plenty of potential in the advertising industry for coffee as these companies expand and continue to find the limits of their territory between companies. More and more of these companies are going beyond national borders to increase sales.
Big companies have one piece of competition and threat to their sales: small companies that want to get bigger by taking consumers dollars. This means that local coffee stands, and gas stations are competing for the coffee cash. Holiday is a recent notable entry into this competition. They’ve cracked down on their marketing for their coffee section pushing radio ads and discount days to draw in the crowds. They’ve added cocoa and seasonal drinks such as pumpkin spice. This sort of addition to the market isn’t likely to take out the big companies, but it will encourage them to up their ad game (Holiday).
I encourage you to pay attention to commercials and radio ads. Try not to hit fast forward; appreciate the artwork from the silent unrecognized artist that creates something so well crafted it makes you thirsty. Enjoy the coffee stands and realize they use word of mouth advertising, so help them out. Understand that the ads of yesterday are shaping the coffee habits of tomorrow.
DeSilver, Drew, and Posts. Chart of the week: Coffee and tea around the world. Pew Research
Center, 20 Dec. 2013. Web. 31 Mar. 2016.
Jones, John Philip. When Ads Work: New Proof That Advertising Triggers Sales. United States:
Jossey-Bass Inc.,U.S., 1995. Print.
Juan Valdez Co. Our history. 2016. Web. 31 Mar. 2016.
Presbrey, Frank S. The History and Development of Advertising. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday,
Doran & Co., Inc., 1929. Print.
Twitchell, James B. Adcult USA: The Triumph of Advertising in American Culture. New York:
Columbia University Press, 1996. Print.
Underhill, Paco. Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster
Paperbacks, 1999. Print.