Second Cup brews two-prong push for the sleepy set

The challenge
Specialty coffee retailer Second Cup issued a twofold challenge to agency of record Holmes & Lee and media buyer Gaggi Media Communications, both of Toronto. The company wanted to develop a strong brand image to benefit each of the retailer's 400 franchises across Canada, but it also wanted to market each of its coffee products individually.

The challenge

Specialty coffee retailer Second Cup issued a twofold challenge to agency of record Holmes & Lee and media buyer Gaggi Media Communications, both of Toronto. The company wanted to develop a strong brand image to benefit each of the retailer’s 400 franchises across Canada, but it also wanted to market each of its coffee products individually.

‘This campaign is really an extension of our brand character,’ says Mike Arseneault, director of marketing at Second Cup. ‘We wanted to turn up the volume of our personality. Each of our coffees has a distinctive personality and we wanted to celebrate that in a fun way.’

The strategy

Holmes & Lee decided to make use of recent research which indicates that 70% of all coffee in Canada is consumed before 11 a.m. and that Second Cup does more than 50% of its business at breakfast time.

‘We took that information as a lead and chose to focus our campaign around the idea of drinking coffee in the morning, by targeting the early morning commuters,’ says John Lee, president of Holmes & Lee. Specifically, the campaign was designed to reach the 25-to-34 target age group, with a skew towards female coffee drinkers.

Holmes & Lee established that the best way to make an impact on this target group was through radio spots and outdoor billboard advertising. The two media were chosen in order to cover potential customers for all 400 Second Cup franchises.

‘It was a tactical move to use two forms of media that would work really well together,’ explains Mike Power, VP, account director at Gaggi. ‘The synergy that we create between the visual and the radio ads is key in capturing the attention of the morning consumers. The intention is to reach consumers visually and verbally at the same time, in a way that could not have been achieved through TV.’

Outdoor advertising was chosen as the best means of establishing a brand image right across the country, while radio would provide the product-specific element of the campaign.

Holmes & Lee also decided to revamp the Second Cup Web site, www.secondcup.com, to support the campaign.

The execution

On Aug. 27, four 30-second radio commercials were launched in every Second Cup market across the country, on stations including CHFI, CHUM, EZ Rock and MIX99 in Toronto. ‘We chose stations that are geared towards the young female demographic as our core audience,’ says Power.

The spots will run for four weeks.

Around 50% of the radio ads are being aired during breakfast slots, in order to target ‘grab-and-go’ morning consumers on their way to work. ‘This was a deliberate strategy,’ says Power. ‘With most radio [campaigns], you will find only 20% of the ads will be aired at breakfast time.’

The spots are designed to represent the different personalities of various coffee products by assigning a distinctive voice to each. For example, a smooth-talking Barry White-inspired voice represents Authentic Mocha Java, while Caramel Corretto is a sultry femme fatale and Espresso Forte is a hyperactive Speedy Gonzales-type.

To support these spots, horizontal billboard ads were posted in 30 markets across Canada, including Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Edmonton, as well as a number of smaller markets. Gaggi and its outdoor suppliers conducted a ‘location drive’ around each of the key markets in order to select the best spots.

‘We chose locations which will reach the majority of the incoming traffic as people drive to work in the morning,’ says Power. ‘In some locations you will see three different posters in a row, to make a really hard-hitting impact.’

Each poster features the Second Cup logo and a humorous slogan on a coffee-brown background, intended to display a passion for coffee and the ‘morning coffee experience.’