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.
The Great Minnesota Get-Together
The Great Minnesota Get-Together
As a native North Dakotan, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I was instructed to go “make cultural observations” at this year’s Minnesota State Fair, the behemoth state get-together that attracts 1.8 million people – a cool 34 percent of the entire state’s population – every year.
At its roots, the Minnesota State Fair is a shared experience for a diverse range of people. An event that rolls around every year like clockwork. Individuals enter the gates and become part of a sweaty mass of humanity, united under the shared goal of celebrating the last golden days of summer, determined to sweeten the transition into cooler months by consuming buckets of Sweet Martha’s cookies.
Most articles written about the fair tend to focus on the food (chocolate-covered jalapeños, new this year!), and god knows I love mini doughnuts for breakfast. But as an account planner at C+M, I’m far more interested in the people who go to the fair and what makes them tick.
Within the masses, I noticed that there are two very distinct groups of people: those who merely go to the fair and those who spend every waking moment outside this two-week period fantasizing about the fair.
Those who merely go to the fair seem to approach the event as something they feel they’re supposed to attend, a duty of being a citizen of this fine state. They may go because it’s a tradition in their family, albeit one with some of the novelty and shine worn off over the years. They may go because they’re bored one night, or they may go because their friends and family are diehards trying to get them equally enthused about the fair.
No matter what their reason for attendance is, these people stand out. They’re the ones looking hot and miserable after an hour or two, the ones flatly refusing to play along with the clowns and the ones taking up every square inch of bench real estate. They’re the ones who are perfectly content consuming a simple hot dog and a bottle of water in the shade as the rest of the fairgoers bustle past them. They’re not fair curmudgeons, by any means, and usually go with the best of intentions.
But at the end of the day, the fair doesn’t do a lot for them. They get more out of watching a loved one joyfully consume a Pronto Pup than they do out of actually eating one themselves.
The people who go all out, however, are incredibly fun to watch. These are the ones who eagerly await the fair for 11 months. The ones who rush in with their unbridled energy and their Minnesota State Fair iPhone app, eager to soak up the sounds, tastes and smells of this glorious event through every orifice.
These are the older women in bejeweled t-shirts and glittery visors, the couples sharing romantic moments in matching duck crowns, and the parents of sparkly haired little girls wielding plastic swords. Love for the fair is evident in those who have worked the entire year to create the masterpieces found in the craft barn, in those on the admirable quest to grow the state’s largest pumpkin, and in those who merely delight in the culinary art of continuously finding new things to fry and put on a stick.
This story completely delighted me: In 2008, a group of Minnesota ex-pats got together and created Minnesota State Fair Day in New York City, an oasis for Midwesterners homesick for the taste of cheese curds and corn on the cob. For its first year, nine plucky souls ventured into New York City, looking for anything-on-a-stick they could find. This year, the event sold out, with hundreds of ex-Minnesotans wearing Twins gear, gathering together to eat chocolate-covered bacon and reminisce about the real deal. The event featured a contest for best butter sculpture and a food-on-a-stick competition, judged by Al Franken. In the Senator’s words, “It was heartening to see so many Minnesotans in New York who still love to celebrate the traditions of our home state.”
My takeaway from all of this is that whether you love it or hate it, the fair is important — a triumphant celebration of all that is inherently Midwestern. This 157-year-old event is still growing, is important to young people and is so ingrained in Minnesota’s culture that even the people who don’t want to come … still come.
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.