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October 2000: Peet's Coffee & Tea Brews Favorable Results from Interactive Marketing Campaign

Coffee lovers, even diehard aficionados, probably don't realize that their morning pick me up is a perishable commodity. Coffee's flavor peaks within three days of roasting and just like bread, it can go stale.

To educate coffee lovers about this interesting factoid and other java-related snippets, Emeryville, CA-based Peet's Coffee & Tea ( launched Coffee Freshness Week, a $250,000 interactive marketing campaign, held from April 17-21.

"We wanted to create an event to raise public interest and awareness because quality and freshness are important to our customers," said Felicia Chan, the company's marketing director.

Chan added that the interactive marketing campaign was targeted to an epicurean audience that was well-educated, loved fine food and beverages. Average age was between 35 and 54 and evenly split between men and women.

The educational campaign comprised a variety of interactive elements. To generate interest and draw traffic to the company's Web site, Peet's gave away 25,000 pounds of fresh coffee beans, equivalent to about one million cups of coffee. Web site visitors entered a sweepstakes in order to qualify to win a pound of fresh roasted coffee. The only requirement was to provide both e-mail and mailing addresses. There were 5,000 daily winners.

An optional Peet's Coffee Quiz featured a number of coffee-related questions that were changed each day. One sample question - 'for optimum flavor, roasted coffee should be consumed within: a) one year; b) three months; c) two weeks.' The answer is 'c'- two weeks.

To promote the campaign, IN2, Peet's' interactive ad agency, created a series of banner ads that ran on various portals and epicurean sites. These included Yahoo!, FoodTV,, and Martha Stewart. The banner ads generated 78 percent of the traffic to the Coffee Freshness Week promotional page.

A targeted e-mail program was sent to 120,000 existing and prospective customers (Peet's purchased a prospect list of food and wine devotees that it believed would be interested in participating in the campaign). Chan said the clickthrough rate for Peet's customers exceeded 50 percent; between 10-20 percent for first-time recipients. The e-mail portion of the campaign attracted 14 percent more visitors.

Meta tags mentioning the campaign were embedded into the Web site's back end. It was also advertised via online coffee-related discussion groups and message boards. Print ads were taken out in the food sections of six key newspapers nationwide - Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Denver Post, Oregonian (Portland), Seattle Times and Washington Post. TV and radio spots were broadcast in 27 metropolitan markets. A promotional story was placed in Peet's' customer catalog and mailed to customers. Lastly, flyers advertising Coffee Freshness Week were distributed to all 56 stores throughout the United States.

"This was truly an integrated campaign and it even featured a viral component. We had a 'Tell A Friend' button on the jump page and that alone increased site traffic by six percent," Chan said.

Online sales revenues increased 33 percent following the promotion and according to Chan, the revenue lift has continued to be robust. Site traffic is up 45 percent since the campaign ended.

"We established great clickthroughs and entries," Chan said. "We had 70,000 entries and were able to compile a new customer database. The campaign achieved our goals of not only raising awareness, but helped position Peet's as the leading company in delivering the freshest coffee."

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