Maxwell House brews some good

A reformulation to 100% Arabica beans led the coffee co to wonder if it couldn't also do something to benefit the community.

“Brew Some Good” grew from the insight that consumers often feel popular culture is out of sync with what is important, what is meaningful and what should be valued. It was a way to reverse this trend and instill optimism in the public mindset with the mantra, “It’s a new morning. Brew some good.”
The goal was to communicate that Maxwell House has changed both functionally and as a brand. The product itself was improved with a reformulation to 100% Arabica beans, which led the Maxwell House marketing team to wonder if the brand couldn’t also do something to improve things in the community.


Kraft Canada saw an opportunity to build new meaning into the brand by leveraging a product improvement to symbolize that the brand could stand for making things better, beyond just the coffee in the tin.

Working with Ogilvy & Mather (as well as OgilvyAction and OgilvyOne), MediaVest for media and Strategic Objectives for PR, the campaign kicked off in April 2008 with celebrity buskers and free coffee and transit token giveaways in Toronto and Montreal, as well as a $100,000 donation to Habitat for Humanity. A TV spot was produced for only $19,000, and viewers were urged to go to to nominate a charity to receive the “saved” remaining funds. A second wave highlighted some of the causes Maxwell House supported. 
In 2009, a fourth ad in the campaign featured Hope Air, a non-profit that helps Canadians in need cover flight costs associated with medical treatment, which was a winner from the “Nominations” campaign. Ad tracking indicated that it was the strongest ad yet, maintaining an emotional connection with consumers.
Maxwell House declared March 2 to 8, 2009, as “Brew Some Good Week.” Canadians were encouraged to unite in as many random acts of good as possible. Teams of Brew-Gooders took to the streets of major cities to reward people spotted doing acts of good with books and vouchers for two free tins of Maxwell House. For each coffee voucher redeemed, Kraft made a $10 donation to Habitat for Humanity.
BSG Week was supported through advertising, sampling, event marketing and PR.  Spokesperson/author of Cool To Be Kind Brad Stokes helped raise awareness and lent credibility to the mission with tips and advice on how Canadians could increase their kindness quotient. Jean-Francois Carrey, the youngest Canadian to climb Mount Everest, acted as the francophone spokesperson.
Each day, new half-page ads running in daily commuter papers were paired with custom editorial features that spoke to the Brew-Gooder theme.  Ads were market- and date-specific, notifying readers of exactly where the Brew-Gooder teams could be spotted.  
Maxwell House also leveraged its long-standing Breakfast Television and TQS partnerships, using daily sponsorship billboards and several in-program interviews and integrations.
All activities ultimately drove to A “Brew Some Good” widget and e-copies of the book Cool To Be Kind were available for free download to further engage consumers.


Despite low TV GRP levels, the nomination response was amazing, with 4,500 entries. In 2009 the TV support was of the same level but out-tracked the 2008 executions.
The PR program increased consumer and media awareness and surpassed all goals and industry standards with over one million audience impressions and 203 stories. Average cost-per-impression was a fraction of industry standards.
The brand contributed 20% of total R&G coffee retail growth, with dollars up +22% (vs. category +13%). Penetration and household purchases also increased.

Judges’ comments
 “This was a creative and original endeavour. We as marketers juggle ad costs vs. impact, and Maxwell House boldly addressed this as a way to capture the attention of their audience.  Applause.” – Andrea Dil

“Amazing way to impact a wide range of charities and organizations without limitation. Powerful, lasting brand association.” – Ersilia Serafini, CEO, Summerhill Group


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