Van Houtte brings the fun back to coffee breaks

The brand comes back to TV with a campaign that gives consumers an emotional boost as at-home coffee habits continue.

Stay Home AD

While Canadians were staying home and social distancing, Stéphane Renauld, director of brand management at Keurig Canada, and the marketing team for its Van Houtte brand, thought that despite these times, people will carry on and get through this. As a result, the brand wanted to liven up people’s spirits, by encouraging individuals to take the “occasional,” fun coffee break.

Renauld says striking the right tone with that kind of idea during a pandemic was a major challenge. But coffee consumption was increasing due to the fact more people were working from home and Canadians were getting used to a new reality of managing their professional and family lives, all under one roof. Even as retail reopenings signal that things are “slowly returning to a new normal” throughout the country, the brand notes that many Canadians will continue to work from and stay at home “for some time.” A recent Ipsos poll showed 52% of Canadians are comfortable returning to their places of work, while 38% are saying they’re not comfortable and 10% are saying they “definitely would not do it” within the next few weeks. The brand also expects an increase in online sales to be a trend that will stick around.

“We decided that Van Houtte had all the right reasons to come back on TV, with a much more positive message, much more colourful, and say to people, ‘you’re drinking coffee, and it’s fine. But it’s fine, also, that your coffee breaks are fun and different than usual,’” Renauld says of the new “Staying Home Has Its Perks” campaign.

Renauld says that during these pandemic months, Van Houtte had also discussed marketing investment and whether or not it should continue to invest, wait or “go dark.” He adds that Van Houtte decided it would continue to push the media investment “as long as we have something smart to tell our customers.”

“We know that people are depending on our coffee to get them through the long days at home, and our team worked hard to ensure we are there for them,” Van Houtte says in an email, adding that this current ad campaign is a great example of that. “We see on social media that people are now open [to] uplifting, happier content to find joy despite the seriousness of the pandemic.”

A new 15-second spot – created by agency Lg2 – shows several fun coffee breaks, with individuals jumping up and down in their kitchen, riding bikes in their house or on tables and jumping on a bouncy ball.

Renauld says Van Houtte wanted to be more relevant to what its consumers were living through, using a more positive tone compared to other COVID-19-related campaigns that emphasize “getting through this” and the adversity of this period. Van Houtte’s core consumers love to “explore and experiment,” and consider their coffee brand an extension of their lifestyle.

“That’s why we said, ‘we understand your new lifestyle right now, we’re going to give you the message that goes with it,’” he says.“We thought that that end-goal was much more positive and much more on brand.”

An April Field Agent study of 718 regular coffee drinkers notes that before physical distancing protocols were implemented in early April, 91% of coffee drinkers were purchasing coffee outside of the home. That number declined to 46% in a week in late April.

The campaign is airing on conventional and specialty channels, nationally, as well as online on YouTube. A social media component, called “Stay Home Truths,” shows how people are spending their days at home on the brand’s Facebook and Instagram accounts.