Caribou Coffee: Revitalizing The Nation’s Second Largest Coffeehouse
Caribou Coffee Rebranding
Our insights indicated that consumers are willing to pay a little more for a premium cup of coffee, in part because they’re also buying an experience. To better communicate the soul of the brand and differentiate the Caribou experience from its more-corporate competitors, we relaunched the brand by evolving the founders’ original tagline, “Life is short. Stay awake for it.” This seize-the-day mentality permeated through every brand touchpoint. No longer was a Caribou cup simply a cup, but rather, it is a reminder that life’s worth staying awake for. Since the relaunch, shareholder value has increased, traffic has improved and comp sales increased for the first time in three years, while outperforming the QSR industry. A 500 percent jump in Facebook fans increased online engagement and the campaign has been spotlighted in everything from PerezHilton.com to Fast Company.
Caribou Coffee is the world’s second-largest premium coffeehouse, but consecutive years of sales declines, driven by a recession that vilified the $4 mocha, left Caribou Coffee in the position of redefining its value and brand experience. Caribou needed to distinguish itself from competitors as disparate as Starbucks and McDonald’s.
Caribou Coffee: Life Is
Caribou Coffee Life Is
For 2013, Caribou Coffee sought to refocus and evolve its brand presence. The exploration led to a core insight that became a theme for the new campaign: “Life is more than coffee. That’s why there’s coffee.” The theme is an extension of Caribou’s longstanding tagline, “Life is short. Stay awake for it.” and demonstrates how Caribou and its fans view life.
The campaign includes 15 and 30 second television spots, radio, cups, napkins, a 3D billboard, and in-store posters and manifestos. All the work features inspirational “life-isms” meant to encourage fans to think of their coffee as more than just a daily routine, but a personal experience that fuels their day and their passions.
Beautiful photography, iconography and type is intended to draw consumers in, offering a sense of wonder and exploration, inspiring coffee drinkers everywhere to enjoy the best that life has to offer.
Caribou Coffee: Holiday 2011
Caribou Coffee Holiday 2011
This holiday season, Caribou Coffee is Making it Merry with the return of their much-loved Reindeer Blend and other holiday favorites, as well as a new Fair Isle look that adorns everything from cups to window clings—and transforms stores into a cozy holiday retreat. In-store posters, cup wreaths and Fair Isle stockings further complement the festive feel, while a new Sweater Maker Facebook App allows consumers to dress their Facebook photos in holiday sweaters and share them through various social networks, successfully spreading the holiday cheer. For every sweater that’s created on Caribou Coffee’s Sweater Maker Facebook App, a real one will be donated to someone in need. Now that’s Making it Merry.
Caribou Coffee: Client Profile
Founded in 1992, Caribou Coffee is the country’s second-largest premium coffeehouse. Caribou operates 408 company-owned shops, 132 franchised locations and is available at grocery stores across the United States.
Caribou Coffee: Wild It Up!
Caribou Coffee Wild It Up
At the time of the promotion, Caribou Coffee did not have an official page on Facebook. For a brand that’s about fun and customer engagement, this project served as the perfect foray into the space. After developing an official page, we created the Facebook application Wild It Up!, which allowed consumers to “wild up” a photo of themselves by selecting from a diverse library of images, such as gold teeth, wild animals, tattoos and, of course, Wild beverages. Users could then use a printout of their new Wild It Up! picture at any Caribou Coffee to redeem it for a free Wild Cooler. The pictures were displayed in stores, reinforcing Caribou’s customer-centric spirit. And an untold number of coupons were distributed that created millions of impressions. Product sampling took a new form of ROI as Caribou’s Facebook audience grew from 0 to 150,000 in just one month’s time.
Shortly after winning the Caribou Coffee business, we were given the task of helping solve a perennial problem. The summer months have a way of slowing down coffeehouse sales. So we turned to Caribou’s lineup of Wild Coolers to offset the usual dip when the mercury rises. Since the beverages are popular with a younger audience, there was an opportunity to broaden Caribou’s customer base in a space that was still uncharted for the premium coffeehouse: social media.
Caribou Coffee: Make The Cup Case Study
Caribou Coffee Make The Cup
Visit the site: www.cariboucoffee.com/makethecup »
Colle+McVoy realized that Caribou’s broadest reaching media vehicle was its cups. Millions of cups each year serve as walking billboards or “owned” media. With the brand relaunch, we created a series of cups featuring handwritten “Bouisms” highlighting things worth staying awake for. Building on that momentum, we created MakeTheCup.com, which allowed consumers to tell us what they stay awake for, and possibly land on the next generation of Caribou cups. The consumer promotion spiked site traffic by 26 percent, and 150 of the best submissions made it to millions of new Caribou cups.
Despite being the second-largest premium coffeehouse in the world, Caribou Coffee is dwarfed by Starbucks when it comes to ad spending. With such a large spending gap, we needed to find a unique promotion to engage customers in our “Life is short. Stay awake for it.” campaign.
Caribou Coffee: Oven Shelter
Caribou Coffee Oven Shelter
To help Caribou Coffee launch its hot and fresh Daybreaker breakfast sandwiches, we decided to heat things up a bit. To do this, we created ovens out of transit shelters, complete with real heaters and working clocks. This not only allowed us to showcase Caribou’s new “Hot ‘n Wholesome” menu items, it also benefited Minnesotans during their frigid winter commutes. Some of the world’s top culture and food blogs celebrated the work along with the industry, including The One Show, Creativity and Adweek. Noted cultural blogger Perez Hilton declared it the “Hottest Advertisement Ever…Literally!”
Caribou Coffee: Coffee Bag Redesign
Caribou Coffee Bag Redesign
With the help of Colle+McVoy, Caribou Coffee launched an extensive brand redesign last year that continues to roll out this year. The new coffee bag design now wraps the entire bag with burlap and labels that give the packaging more of a handcrafted and artisan feel. The front label for each specific coffee was kept simple and includes a small hand-rendered sketch that identifies the country of origin or the unique coffee blend.
Caribou Coffee: Cup Design
Since Caribou is significantly outspent by its competitors, Colle+McVoy paid special attention to the design of its number one touchpoint, the cup. We extended Caribou Coffee’s brand tagline "Life is short. Stay awake for it." to their cups, turning them into mobile messaging platforms that captured inspiring messages that are lovingly called "Bouisms." Each size featured different Bouisms. We have even created customized cups for their Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings sponshorships.
Caribou Coffee: Holiday 2010
Caribou Coffee Holiday
Colle+McVoy just launched a holiday campaign for Caribou Coffee, the second-largest gourmet coffeehouse operator in the world. The in-store experience captures the optimism of the brand and celebrates the "Season to Shine."
Caribou Coffee: Chocolate Press Release
To ensure the media took notice of Caribou’s new chocolate drinks made with real Guittard chocolate, we sent them something they were sure to love. A huge hunk of chocolate. This first-ever chocolate press release featured all key information etched in chocolate. We hope, they took notes before they indulged.
Caribou Coffee: Amy’s Blend
Caribou Coffee Amy's Blend
Amy Erickson was a roastmaster at Caribou Coffee who lost a valiant battle to breast cancer. A special blend is created each year in her honor and 10 percent of the sales are donated to Susan G. Komen for the Cure®. This year, in addition to coffee, merchandise and point-of-sale items, our client asked us to create packaging for a new Amy’s Blend Red Tea. We were honored to work on a project that recognizes such a brave and beloved person.
Caribou Coffee: The Adventures of Jack & Gourdo
What would happen if a pumpkin and a gourd possessed the gift of speech? You’d get the Autumn Adventures of Jack & Gourdo, that’s what. Jack and Gourdo are the irreverent ambassadors of Caribou Coffee’s Flavors of Fall lineup of handcrafted drinks and bakery items.
What Is Your Super Bowl?
The Super Bowl is the most anticipated and talked about event in the advertising industry. It’s our Oscars, Grammys and Fashion Week wrapped into one. We expect to see some of the best creative, soundest strategy and most effective marketing of the year. But with all the flash and hoopla, how does it affect the average marketer? What can the millions of marketers, business leaders and entrepreneurs take away on Feb 3rd?
First, they should ask, “What is my Super Bowl?” Instead of looking at the event as the advertising star-studded night it is, consider it just a platform, a launching pad that top tier advertisers decide (or can afford) to leverage. Every marketer has a “Super Bowl” or big stage and you don't need $4 million plus (average cost of the Super Bowl media buy) to own it. While helping Caribou Coffee with a major rebranding effort, we approached the design of their coffee cups as their Super Bowl. After all, to the nation's second largest premium coffee shop, their cups actually garner the sort of impressions a commercial during the Super Bowl does. All of a sudden, the cup designs became a lead element in the campaign and everything followed.
And with Land O'Lakes, we treated their new mobile site as their Super Bowl. Today's busy Moms (and Dads) are turning more and more to mobile devices to plan and prepare meals, so we placed great emphasis on creating a user experience that was intuitive, simple and inspiring. After all, it will be used by millions of people.
Once you identify your Super Bowl, it might not reach hundreds of millions of viewers in one fell swoop—or feature the mishaps of Janet Jackson— but there are some things we can all learn from the big game that can be applied.
It's not just about showing up, it's about standing out.
Whether it's at a trade show such as CES, packaging on a store shelf, or something as simple as a sweepstakes—just think, what would happen if you treated it as if everyone was watching? Pretend for a second that USA Today is going to gauge your efforts with a meter the next day. That your family and friends are going to point out "I know the person who did that…" The reason so many Super Bowl spots are memorable isn't just because they cost a lot of money. It's because a lot of thought went into them. No one wants to disappoint.
Make sure it’s the right kind of memorable.
Too often, in their efforts to stand out, advertisers make the mistake of not linking their creative idea to the uniqueness of the product. They do a great job making people laugh, or maybe even coaxing a tear or goosebumps with a heartfelt message, but the viewer is unable to remember what brand moved them in the first place. Will your audience walk away your Super Bowl message the way you'd like?
Get the most out of your investment.
Two trends have emerged from advertising during the big game. First, creating buzz for your ad prior to game day is a great way to make your marketing dollars work harder. Can you tease your Super Bowl effort before it launches?
Second, advertisers are doing an increasingly good job of tying a social component to their spot, whether it’s an online game or asking viewers to vote for the ending of the spot on Twitter. By doing this they engage consumers, increase conversations and build buzz. Be sure you’ve employed all the tools in your marketing toolbox to promote your Super Bowl.
Old Navy: Inventing A New Brand Design System
Old Navy case study
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The visibility of our work for Caribou Coffee earned us an invitation from Old Navy to submit a proposal to transform and define their entire brand design philosophy. After being selected from among some of the best design firms in the country, we developed a proprietary typeface, secondary fonts, color palettes, patterns, brand language, a comprehensive brand standards manual, examples of in-store applications and direct mail.
C+M Oversees Extensive Brand Makeover For Caribou Coffee
MINNEAPOLIS, March 1, 2010 - Caribou Coffee customers in all stores nationwide will notice a new coffee-centric caribou on their cups as they reach for their beverages today. As part of the company’s strategy to enhance its brand position and create new opportunities to engage customers, the 17-year-old brand has undergone a makeover orchestrated by Colle+McVoy, which will roll out during 2010 and into early 2011.
See the work
"The evolution of the Caribou Coffee identity will provide more people with more reasons to feel deeply connected to the brand" said Christine Fruechte, president and CEO, Colle+McVoy. "Whether you’re a customer or an employee, Caribou will be symbolic of living life to its fullest, and that’s rich territory for a brand like this to own."
"As we explored hundreds of iterations of the brand’s central elements, we made sure to stay true to the personality of the company, the vision in which it was founded, as well as the myriad reasons why people love Caribou Coffee," said Mike Caguin, executive creative director, Colle+McVoy.
The new brand look includes a new logo, color palette and design elements that bring fresh energy and broader context to the existing tagline: Life is short. Stay awake for it.® Previously the tagline focused on the benefits of caffeine, but Caribou has now shifted the element from a declarative statement to an opportunity for customer engagement on a more personal level; "stay awake" has grown to signify a "seize the day" attitude.
"We saw an opportunity to better express who we are and what we believe in as a company across all interactions with our customers," said Alfredo Martel, senior vice president of marketing, Caribou Coffee. "The new elements of our brand give us an opportunity to do that and to ask our customers to explore and share what staying awake means in their lives."
Beginning on March 1, the new look will be introduced via in-store elements such as napkins, cups, drink carriers, canteens and signage. A redesigned Web site and extensive out-of-home campaign launch April 1.
Bringing the Brand to Life
Central to this new rebranding, the company’s logo has been adapted to a simpler representation of the brand’s key identification. Most noticeably, the leaping caribou is now a coffee-brown color and in the brand’s playful nature, is assembled out of graphic elements, including a coffee bean at the heart of the animal and "C" shaped antlers. The caribou also now leaps to the right, signifying the company’s vision and movement toward the future.
The shield element in the original logo has been updated to a rich blue color with a new shape that echoes the shape of national park system signage, a nod to the Caribou founders’ hike in Alaska’s Denali National Park where they were inspired to begin the company.
A New Approach to Growth
Since Caribou Coffee CEO Mike Tattersfield’s arrival in August 2008, Caribou has shifted focus away from expansion and toward elevating all aspects of the brand experience to match its world-class coffee. The company’s new strategy has resulted in the most diverse and premium line of offerings since the company opened its first store in 1992.
"Our brand relaunch runs much deeper than the new logo design; it really signifies the evolution of our company. We are passionate about and committed to creating the best cup of coffee possible and an experience that extends beyond our products," said Martel. "We are working to ensure that all aspects of the customer experience are at the same premium level of quality as our coffee."
In November 2009, Caribou unveiled a menu of reformulated chocolate beverages made with all-natural gourmet chocolate from Guittard Chocolate Company of San Francisco. To boost its breakfast platform, the retailer introduced handcrafted oatmeal to its menu in January of this year and has been testing baked in-store pastry items at 25 stores in its home market of Minneapolis.
C+M Launches Caribou Coffee Fall Effort With Jack & Gourdo
MINNEAPOLIS, Sept. 8, 2009 - A wisecracking pumpkin and dimwitted gourd are the stars of a new Colle+McVoy campaign for Caribou Coffee, the second largest company-owned gourmet coffeehouse operator in the United States. The comical characters were created to promote the company’s Flavors of Fall lineup of handcrafted drinks and bakery items.
Breaking today (Sept. 8), the campaign features The Autumn Adventures of Jack & Gourdo in a series of online videos, in-store signage and point-of-purchase elements, which highlight special features of the seasonal offerings through funny and often irreverent conversations between Jack (the pumpkin) and Gourdo (the gourd).
"Jack and Gourdo are meant to be fun ambassadors of fall," said Eric Husband, group creative director, Colle+McVoy. "Caribou Coffee is serious about coffee, but they never take themselves too seriously—they’re not afraid to have some fun. Jack and Gourdo is a great example of this."
Components include five spots of varying lengths breaking today on Caribou Coffee’s YouTube channel, which can be viewed at http://www.JackAndGourdo.com/. Colle+McVoy collaborated with Minneapolis-based Puny Entertainment to develop the video animation.
The campaign promotes Caribou Coffee’s lineup of limited-time-only products, including the drinks Wild Pumpkin, Wild Pumpkin Cooler, Wild Caramel Apple and Wild Caramel Apple Cooler drinks, as well as food items such as Maple Scone, Reduced Fat Cinnamon Bundt Cake and Pumpkin Bread.
C+M Wins Caribou Coffee Account
Named agency of record for second-largest coffeehouse operator in America
MINNEAPOLIS, February 20, 2009 - Colle+McVoy received a strong shot of new business after being named agency of record for Caribou Coffee, the second-largest company-owned gourmet coffeehouse operator in the United States. The agency was selected after a very competitive and challenging search.
"Colle+McVoy’s approach was very courageous. Their creative ideas pushed our brand in a more innovative direction, which we believe will help differentiate it for today’s customers and future generations," said Caribou Coffee Senior Vice President of Marketing Alfredo Martel. "The team presented a comprehensive strategy to drive growth and create long-term value, as well as actionable solutions for our immediate needs."
"We have been given an amazing opportunity to help Caribou Coffee become the leading gourmet coffee brand in the world," said Christine Fruechte, president and CEO, Colle+McVoy. "Every idea we create needs to be engaging and tell the brand’s memorable story through groundbreaking programs." Colle+McVoy ended 2008 with revenues at an eight-year high, driven, in part, by high-profile assignments from ESPN, Yahoo! Messenger, Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation, and Manhattan Toy Company, to name a few.
Colle+McVoy will share in the brand strategy and planning, as well as manage the day-to-day execution of all marketing campaigns for Caribou Coffee, including brand identity, package design, interactive, advertising and promotions. The scope includes consumer marketing via all channels (trade, retail and online). Program budgets have not been finalized.
C+M Hires New Interactive And Copywriting Talent
MINNEAPOLIS, April 1, 2010 - Minneapolis-based advertising agency Colle+McVoy advances to meet the ever-evolving needs of the agency and its growth attributed to clients such as Caribou Coffee, Purina and the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation with the announcement today of six new hires:
Lisa Holzemer has been hired as a senior interactive producer. Previously, Holzemer was a producer at MRM Worldwide and Martin Williams.
Ben Clymer has been hired as an interactive designer. Clymer recently worked at Preston Kelly on various accounts, including HealthPartners, Roundy’s, Taco John’s and Grand Casino.
Fabien Dodard has been hired as a junior art director. Dodard previously worked at Boulder, Colo. based Crispin Porter + Bogusky and for a Haiti-based ad agency for five years.
Jenny Kirmis has been hired as a junior copywriter. Kirmis is a recent graduate of the Miami Ad School.
Brice Hemmer has been hired as a junior interactive designer/developer. Hemmer has interned at Poplife and Complt Design Studio.
Tom Ferrara, a recent graduate of the University of Minnesota, has been hired as an interactive developer.
"The sum of new hires adds significantly to our existing deep pool of talent within the creative group and will simply provide more expertise for our clients," said Mike Caguin, executive creative director, Colle+McVoy.
Photos available upon request.