Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Starbucks' Via And Their Social Media Makes Me Realize I'm A Coffee Snob.

I am a slight coffee snob. By slight, I mean that I won't drink coffee from any gas station or place that doesn't specialize in coffee or on airplanes. I recently had a dream about going to Spain just to hunt down a cafe con leche. I sometimes order coffee from a Portland coffeehouse because a friend of mine brought me some once and I loved it that much. I suppose I have every right to be a semi- coffee snob since I mainline caffeine all day long. At 27 my doctor told me to "cut down a bit" which I ignored because hey, I'm not doing any hard drugs and I even quit smoking so if I want to drink coffee all day long that's exactly what I'm going to do.
So this week, Starbucks is launching their advertising campaign for Via with :30 second TV ads, newspaper ads, and some in store promotions with the concept that people cannot tell the difference between Via (instant coffee) and their regular brewed coffee in the stores. They are also using social media to promote sampling in the stores by inviting their Facebook friends to participate in their test. The whole premise of the campaign is taping people who can't tell the difference between the 2.
I felt almost giddy when I read that it will be available in some airlines.
Yet, I doubt I'll use Via unless I have to. I think they are a bit off when it comes to who their customer base will be. People that come into Starbucks go there because they like the Starbucks experience. Instant coffee has no experience tied to it so the people who come to a Starbucks may not be their target. In the commercials they show people drinking Via in places you would not find a Starbucks handy, like a civil war re-enactment. This makes more sense but if Via is a product we will only use when there is no Starbucks available then they should reach people when there is no Starbucks available. I feel like there's a better way to use social to promote this product than a Facebook invite - maybe they are planning to once the product is launched further.
Anyway, the trials are free in Starbucks starting on Friday, let me know if you try it and if you can tell the difference or not.


Blogger Royce said...

I'll let you know if I try Via. I am a huuuge coffee fan but I guess I'm not a snob by your standards... I can still drink crappy coffee and not turn my nose up at it.

However, I actively seek out good coffee and I typically judge the quality of a breakfast place or cafe by how good their coffee is. I have my favorite local coffee shop that has six different brews ready at any given time, and switches out a new one once a month.

In my opinion coffee is one of the great pleasures in life. What's your style, light or dark, with or without cream, sweetened or unsweetened? Personally I go very light roasts, consumed black (ie nothing added).

September 29, 2009 at 9:31 AM  
Anonymous June said...

I tried Via about 3 months ago because Guy Kawasaki was handing out cases at an event in SF. Now I have 20 packets sitting in my apartment, but I've only actually ingested one.

It dissolves quickly, but that's the only upside. Other than that, it's pretty bland as far as coffee goes. Meh. Maybe I should donate the rest to my neighborhood co-working space.

September 30, 2009 at 2:28 PM  

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