10 Coffee Marketing Campaigns You Need To See

Marketers are always looking for a way to attract new customers to their coffee shops. Here are 10 coffee marketing campaigns of coffee companies.

Coffee marketing campaigns
Coffee companies have taken various coffee marketing campaigns

Companies have taken to social media platforms, tried email marketing, and have even created some strange new takes on the classic latte to bring in new business. Between social media marketing and word of mouth, there have been some pretty wild coffee marketing campaigns.

Here are 10 coffee marketing tactics that are sure to get your local barista blogging.

1. Nescafe Tackles Social Media

friends checking their cellphones while having their coffee break
Nescafe used social media as a marketing strategy

If you’re into coffee marketing, you know that Nescafe is known for more than their affordable brews.

Nescafe was the brilliant marketing mind behind the “Really Friends” project. This was a series of 42 web videos that documented a man named Arnaud as he experienced greeting all of his Facebook friends with a hot cup of Nescafe coffee.

This marketing tactic was an instant hit. It reached a Nescafe target audience while getting to show off Nescafe products. The documentary series reached a height of 8 million views far outpacing even the most glowing customer reviews.

This marketing campaign hit harder than a bold espresso inspired thousands of people to follow in Arnaud’s footsteps and create their own version of these videos. This kind of user-generated content is worth its weight in marketing gold.

2. Starbucks Launches Red Cup Art

No countdown of the best coffee marketing strategies would be complete without talking about Starbucks cup art.

In 2016, Starbucks announced the Red Cup Design Challenge. Customers were able to design their own artwork for holiday-themed red Starbucks cups. Winners were selected and their cups were used all throughout the country.

This is a great example of co-creation between brands and their fans. Starbucks gave their more artistically minded audience an opportunity to show off their skills and be involved. This also gave Starbucks fans a sense of ownership and deepened brand loyalty.

This also helps to play against one of the biggest weaknesses that this company has. Starbucks has a bad image when it comes to its position against the small business coffee shop owners in the country. The Red Cup Design Challenge helped Starbucks to overcome some of that negative image by connecting with real people in their communities.

3. Folgers Has Surreal Coffee Shop Marketing Ideas

Sometimes the most effective marketing strategies are ones that are out of the box. Some of these can even be considered downright strange.

Folgers wasn’t afraid to go there with its surreal “Mornings Less Complicated” ads.

These ads depicted some pretty strange images along with the text “mornings less complicated.” The Ad showed off strange images such as the pair of boots with a tangled mess of tentacle-like laces, a shirt with way too many sleeves and a bizarre design, and a newspaper that looked more like a piece of folded origami art than anything you could normally read.

What’s effective about these ads is that they catch the eye, and they demand our attention. We have no choice but to study these advertisements and absorb something of the brand’s message. We’re also encouraged to talk about these strange ads with our friends and family.

Folgers took a bold move with a surreal advertisement campaign, and it worked for them.

4. Blenz Coffee Helps Coffee Shop Customers Find Love

Blenz coffee
Blenz coffee helps customers find love

Blenz coffee took a bold step when they decided to skip advertising new products, and instead advertised that their coffee lovers were single. This coffee chain decided to build up some brand awareness by doing double-duty as a matchmaker in addition to a respectable source of brewed coffee beans.

The Blenz Red Campaign gives coffee drinkers the ability to have a unique experience while sipping coffee at their shop. Customers could request a special red sleeve for their drinks.

These sleeves boldly let other customers know that they were single and gave them the chance to mingle with other people looking for a date. After all, what says “look me up” like a great cup of coffee?

The Blenz Red Campaign sleeves also had built-in spots to jot down a phone number if you happen to make a match while drinking your morning coffee.

What’s a better coffee loyalty program than helping your customers find true love?

5. Sanremo Uses A Dubstep Marketing Strategy

Sometimes the best eCommerce strategy is to ride the wave of a growing trend. In 2013, dubstep was all the rage in terms of both viral online content as well as chart-topping hits. The espresso machine company Sanremo decided to jump on top of this trend and created a viral video using their products.

The Sanremo dubstep video features a cast of musicians using the company’s espresso machines to create a dubstep track. The video has the wild energy that people have come to associate with dubstep while cleverly showing off the build quality and features of Sanremo’s products.

One of the most successful things that can happen when you try to go viral is that your content reaches millions of people and enters into new audiences. This video had great viral success and rode the wave of other viral dubstep videos. This has been one of Sanremo’s most successful marketing strategies to date.

While musical advertisements tend to get dated very quickly, the amount of gain that companies can get from them in the short-term is pretty substantial. At the very least, Sanremo proved that their espresso machines can double as dubstep instruments as well as sources of delicious coffee.

6. Coffee Brands Team Up With Celebrities

Coffee brands just love to team up with celebrities. Whether we are talking about George Clooney and Danny DeVito advertising Nescafe or Vincent Price’s classic Coffee-Mate advertisements, we’re discussing one of the most time-honored tactics when it comes to getting the word out there about your coffee products.

Celebrity advertisements have several advantages. They get to tie your brand’s reputation in with a rising star as well as using that celebrity’s audience to boost the appearance of your coffee in the public eye.

Elvira, Ozzy Osbourne, and Taylor Swift are just a few more of those celebrities who have teamed up with a famous coffee brand to create an advertisement. These ad campaigns have all been hits too. Who wouldn’t want to share a fresh cup of coffee with their favorite celebrity?

7. Nescafe Conducts A Social Experiment

Everyone in marketing knows that word of mouth is one of the most powerful advertising tools out there, but it’s also one of the most difficult to control.

Nescafe decided to create an interesting social experiment as a way to generate some word-of-mouth advertising.

This coffee giant placed a series of vending machines on German streets. When a passerby would press the button on the vending machine, the screen would appear that would show footage from a vending machine that was across the street. When two individuals pressed the buttons on the vending machine simultaneously, they were rewarded with a hot cup of coffee.

Advertisements around this particular social experiment showed people puzzling their way through getting a free cup of coffee and then connecting with the person on the other end of the puzzle.

8. Pumpkin Spice Fans Prove Their Loyalty And Win

Two pumpkin spice coffee with cinnamon, whole and sliced pumpkins on the table.
Starbucks Coffee’s pumpkin spice coffee was a hit

Starbucks is a powerhouse in the world of coffee marketing. Fans of this coffee brand seem to be driven to go out of their way to share their love for Starbucks beverages.

Starbucks opened this particular advertising strategy by appealing to its presence in the local community. This effort wound up being so successful that every local business was instantly envious of the success.

Starbucks created a Facebook mobile app that encouraged users to engage with the brand. The city that had the most engagement would get to have the pumpkin spice flavor one week earlier than everywhere else in the country.

Customers all over the country jumped at the opportunity to have pumpkin spice coffee before the rest of the United States. Before your local coffee company could even shout “Google my business,” Chicago had won the contest and pumpkin spice came a little bit earlier that year.

9. McDonald’s Full Bean Coffee Conversations

McDonald’s isn’t exactly known as a dine-in restaurant. Ever since the classic burger chain restaurant decided to devote more energy to its McCafe brand, it’s tried to pivot itself towards that coffee shop vibe.

McDonald’s launched a full series of ads around their Full Bean Coffee and their McCafe brand. These ads featured intimate conversations between people sitting down in a coffee shop-like environment.

People talked about their lives, workplace difficulties, and other intimate topics while enjoying Full Bean Coffee. This advertisement campaign worked to establish McDonald’s as more than just a drive-thru restaurant. These ads also helped people to associate the McDonald’s brand with what we’ve all come to expect from your local coffee shop.

McDonald’s has clearly been working to shed its grab & go image—at least when it comes to its McCafe coffee line. If you enjoyed this post, you might be interested in learning about cafe music.

10. Hashtag Unicorn Frappuccino

Starbucks is a masterclass in coffee marketing tips.

The Unicorn Frappuccino is an outlandish drink that also doubled as a brilliant marketing campaign. Starbucks customers fell in love with this strange concoction and immediately began creating user-generated content that they could share via social media posts with their subscribers.

No amount of SEO from even the biggest coffee retailers out there could compete with hundreds of thousands of people sharing pics of Starbucks’ latest creation.

This is the pinnacle of digital marketing for the coffee business and a demonstration of Starbucks customer loyalty. Starbucks has learned from their own marketing tips and now offers a host of secret menu items that have potential customers coming in just to enjoy the Starbucks experience.


  • Aisling O'Connor

    Aisling is an Irish food and drinks writer and journalist fueled by coffee and herbal tea. She followed up her journalism degree with nutrition studies. Find Aisling on LinkedIn.