Dining Out Magazine

Caribou Coffee Goes for My Heart, Hits a Nerve, Leaves Me Irritated.

By Keewood @sellingeating

Here, watch this damn thing:

Now, I love Caribou Coffee. I am drinking from a Caribou Coffee mug RIGHT THIS SECOND. I feel affection for the brand from when I worked in Minneapolis, and that affection is sincere.

See? I love this brand.

See? I love this brand.

When I taught an introductory advertising class at Butler University, we even used Caribou as our main “fake client.”

And I’ll tell you what: I give the copywriter on that TV ad a C-. I might give them a D if they’re the ones who wrote “Life is more than coffee. That’s why there’s coffee.” Because that just shows they can do better.

Now look, I realize all kinds of forces come to bear on a TV commercial script. There’s all kinds of pressures and extra approvals and people who have to touch it because it’s so expensive to make a TV ad.

But the rest of their stuff is pretty darn good.

And I really believe in their brand position, which, in my words (the words of the brand manager are here in this Nation’s Restaurant News article, and they sound kind of blarneyesque to me, but I guess that’s what CMOs have to be able to do) would be: ”Look, it’s about way more than coffee. You can get decent coffee a lot of places. This is about how you want to be perceived by the people you know—and we have a passion, and a lot of solid beliefs, that we think are the same as yours. Be with us. Show others you think like we do. Get a cup of Caribou instead of the corporate stuff at Starbucks or the commoditized stuff everywhere else.”

But crikey. That TV ad is so bullshitty. It sounds like it could be about anything. What did they even say? Is it for deodorant? A car? What a waste.

I like that tag line. I like the sentiment. But I sure wish they’d been more unexpected with the writing. All those things they said left me completely unmoved because ads have been trying to trick me into engaging with those emotions on behalf of their clients since the first truly emotional Nike ads of the late 80s and early 90s. I’m not that easy to manipulate.

Caribou has the right to stand for more than coffee because that’s what’s attractive about the brand and design.

I just think the writer punted.

There’s no new ideas except the line.


I might make it a C- if they do some extra credit.

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