August 18, 2022

Advertising: Iced Coffee Gets Its Day in the Sun

But marketers have done little to cater to those who want to make iced coffee at home, even though 73 percent of coffee consumed in the United States is prepared at home, according to data from the National Coffee Association, a trade group.

Now efforts to promote iced coffee consumption at home are beginning to percolate.

For Keurig, the single-cup coffee brewing system owned by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, a national advertising campaign is under way for its Brew Over Ice coffees.

“Summer. (Now available at home)” states a print ad for the Keurig iced coffees, which are sold under the Green Mountain Coffee brand. The coffees are available in two varieties, Nantucket Blend and French Vanilla, which retail for $16.50 for a box of 22 single servings.

The ads, by BrandBuzz, New York, part of the Young Rubicam Brands division of the WPP Group, began appearing in May issues of magazines including Better Homes Gardens, Real Simple and Woman’s Day and will appear in issues through August.

“We’re focused on the Keurig user base and satisfying all the various consumption needs they have,” said Ross Fenderson, a brand manager at Green Mountain Coffee Roasters who focuses on Keurig.

New offerings try to resolve subpar results some consumers may be getting at home, either from making iced coffee out of cold and stale leftover coffee or from pouring fresh hot coffee over ice and finding the beverage too watery.

The Keurig iced varieties contain more coffee in their single portions, called K-Cups, than in regular varieties, and users are directed to select a smaller, six- or eight-ounce portion setting on the Keurig machine. (The setting can be set as high as 12 ounces.)

The smaller setting allows the coffee to be concentrated enough to remain robust when brewed directly into a full glass of ice.

Keurig is also holding a sweepstakes for a cruise in a state where consumers do not drink as much iced coffee as those in the Northeast: Alaska.

And in what the brand is calling a “surprise and delight tactic” on Facebook, it also will give away 100 brewers and K-Cups to some of the more than 122,000 followers of the brand.

On July 12, Starbucks will introduce Iced Coffee Blend, whole-bean coffee available in its stores for $13 for a pound. The blend, which is the same that Starbucks has used for years to brew iced coffee in its stores, has never been sold as a whole bean blend.

The ice-blue package directs consumers to use as much coffee as they would for a full pot of coffee, but only half of the water, and to brew the coffee directly over ice or in a coffeemaker to be then poured into a pitcher of ice.

Last summer, as part of its Via line of instant coffee, Starbucks introduced an iced version, with instructions calling for the slender packets to be poured into a 16-ounce bottle of water. A six-serving container costs $6.

Seattle’s Best Coffee, a subsidiary of Starbucks, also has a whole-bean blend for ice coffee, Summer Brew, for $13 a pound, which is beginning to appear in its shops.

Instructions call for using a Toddy, a brand of cold-water coffeemakers that take 12 hours to brew, yielding a coffee concentrate that is reconstituted with one part concentrate to three parts water, milk or cream.

Seattle’s Best sells Toddy makers in its stores and will promote the new coffee in them, but it does not have immediate plans to advertise it, according to the brand.

Stumptown Coffee Roasters, meanwhile, recently began bottling cold-brewed coffee in squat 10.5-ounce amber bottles, which it calls Stubbies. The bottles are sold for $3.50 in the company’s coffee shops both in Portland, Ore., where the company is based, and in New York.

Matt Lounsbury, director of operations for Stumptown, said the company decided to bottle iced coffee because sales by the cup in stores had “been on the upswing for the better part of five years.”

Like the Stubbies, iced coffee served in Stumptown cafes is made from a cold-brewed concentrate because brewing over ice can make the coffee bitter, said Mr. Lounsbury, who added that the cold-brew method yielded a “strong yet sweet, almost tealike cup of coffee.”

Green Mountain Coffee spent $23 million advertising in 2010 and its subsidiary Keurig spent $14.1 million, according to the Kantar Media unit of WPP.

Green Mountain Coffee owned about 35 percent of the shares in Keurig before it bought the company outright in 2006.

Single-cup coffee systems like Keurig, which was developed in 1998, and newer ones including the Nescafé Dolce Gusto, Senseo and Flavia, are now in 7 percent of households and have been growing at an average annual rate of 1 percentage point since 2005, according to the National Coffee Association.

In 2010, total revenue for Keurig brewers and accessories was $330.8 million, a gain of 67 percent over 2009, while revenue from the portion packs reached $834.4 million, 103 percent more than in 2009.

Selling coffeemakers “at cost, or sometimes at a loss,” is part of the company’s growth strategy to get the brewers in homes and offices and lock into a revenue stream for the coffee pods, according to its 2010 annual report.

In the last year, in addition to the iced coffee and iced tea lines, Keurig also introduced hot apple cider, which joined other noncoffee beverages like cocoa and a drink called Revv, which in addition to coffee contains ginseng and guarana, ingredients used in energy drinks.

“The goal at the end of the day is for Keurig to be renowned not just as a coffee system, but as a beverage system,” said Mr. Fenderson, the brand manager.

Asked, facetiously, if that meant Keurig would at some point offer baby formula pods, Mr. Fenderson said that the subject had actually already been broached.

“We’ve had consumers request that,” he said.

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