In 2009 Annual Conference, Student Track, Tuesday

Although our scheduled speaker, Maria Pierson, was unable to attend today’s student track, the viral campaign Pierson-Grant conducted for Joffrey’s Coffee 2.0 is a fun study of the power of social media. A short summary of the campaign follows:

Joffrey’s Tea & Coffee was founded in 1984. Based in Tampa, Fla., the company sells coffee and tea in grocery stores and retail outlets across the southeast. In 2007, they began a campaign to reach a new market and take advantage of the viral nature of online content: the Java Beta Test, aimed at bloggers who love a good cup of joe. Aided by Ft. Lauderdale-based PR firm Pierson-Grant, Joffrey’s emailed a link to a survey about coffee-drinking habits to bloggers around the country.

The survey bloggers took to receive their free coffee yielded some fun facts:

Average age: 31.5 years

93% percent prefer regular coffee (as opposed to decaf)

25% percent drink their coffee black

50% use cream and sugar

20% drink four or more cups per day (who needs sleep, anyway?)

By definition, bloggers love to talk, and the campaign received coverage on more than 150 blogs and in several traditional media outlets.

The Pierson-Grant team then asked the bloggers what their ideal coffee would taste like. Most wanted more bold flavor and more caffeine (seriously, sleep=overrated). Joffrey’s took this info and created a “crowdsourced java” named Coffee 2.0, a moniker suggested by Eric Friedman, Marketing.FM blogger. After producing and mailing samples of the new branded blend to all bloggers who participated in the survey and naming, Joffrey’s took the coffee mainstream.

The Coffee 2.0 campaign is a perfect example of the new reality of social media-fueled public relations Peter Shankman of HARO talked about during Monday’s general session: let the public help you get your message out.

Pierson-Grant applied the same idea to the task of marketing a new product. With just a small push into the blogoshpere, Joffrey’s was able to brew a storm of online publicity that spilled over into traditional media and perked up Joffrey’s business considerably.

Click here to view a slideshow of the Java beta Test and Coffee 2.0 by Adam Singer, former director of digital trategy at Pierson-Grant.

About Pierson Grant Public Relations: Formed in 1995, this independent agency had over $1.75 million in net billings in 2008. Their small staff of account executives, graphic designers, a digital strategist and a Hispanic media specialist provides strategic planning, media relations, product launch, web content and internal communication services for clients in industries ranging from autos to the arts. The agency is located in Ft. Lauderdale.

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