Nabob’s pumpkin protest

A rally against the fall flavour continues the brand's positioning as authentic, no-frills coffee.
NABOB- Pumpkin Picket 2

It’s an accepted reality that the arrival of fall brings with it a flood of pumpkin-flavoured products, especially when it comes to coffee. Nabob is fighting against that flood, speaking on behalf of the pumpkins as it continues to enforce its position as an authentic, “no frills” coffee brand.

Continuing the “Respect the Bean” platform launched last year, the Kraft Heinz brand took to the streets of Toronto and Vancouver during National Coffee Day yesterday to stage a protest on behalf of the pumpkins being used in the increasingly-popular fall beverages. Trailers full of pumpkins “held” picket signs bearing slogans like “I am not a latte” and “I’d rather be a pie.”

The full campaign includes a pre-roll spot, a social media push that includes shareable images and slogans on Twitter, PR and a custom design on t-shirt site Threadless.

Taxi handled creative on the new campaign (Ogilvy created the original “Respect the Bean” platform), with Mosaic running the protest events, Starcom Mediavest on media and Edelman on PR.

Heather Fadali, senior brand manager for Nabob at Kraft Heinz Canada, says the company did a lot of consumer research prior to the platform’s launch last year to figure out its brand identity, as its biggest challenge was consumers not knowing what Nabob “stood for” as a brand. The result was to aim for consumers more interested in substance over style in a campaign that took coffee trends – like flavoured drinks, excessive toppings and festive cups – right to Colombian coffee farmers to see their reaction.

The response to the campaign was positive, resulting in increased brand loyalty and volume of sales, which Fadali says validated its insights. But it also meant looking for different ways to keep the campaign fresh while delivering the same message.

“What we have to do is evolve it going forward and make sure it doesn’t get stale by keeping up with what’s happening in the culture with our consumers,” she says.

Kraft’s marketing plan for its brands is to turn them into “icons” through “magnetic” ideas that create an emotional connection with consumers, and for a brand like Nabob, that means inserting it into cultural conversations that are already happening.

“Right now, [everyone] is talking about is pumpkin flavour,” Fadali says. “We’re looking at this new campaign as great opportunity to extend our point-of-view in a timely and cheeky way into something that is happening in our consumers’ lives and be relevant to that conversation.”

While some consumers might see getting into new flavour spaces as a form of innovation, Nabob has tried to innovate in other ways, like offering new single-serve product formats, Fadali says.

“The fact that everyone has jumped onto something like pumpkin spice almost makes it more like a bandwagon than a product innovation,” she says. “The more people follow the leaders in flavoured coffee, the less special it becomes. But the idea isn’t to buck the trend or be a rebel, it’s about speaking to what matters to our core consumer, which is to not be in that space.”