BET gives out free coffee to thank viewers for keeping the network 'hot'

The campaign's primary goal was to generate positive sentiment around BET via social media.

Company: BET Networks
Agency:  135th Street Agency
Campaign: #BETthanksyou
Duration:  January 7-19, 2016
Budget: $87,000

To thank viewers for "keeping them hot," BET worked with black-owned shops and restaurants in 10 cities across the country to give fans free cups of coffee.

The experiential campaign, executed in conjunction with 135th Street Agency, took place last month around the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday to celebrate goodwill in various communities. The partnerships with various shops added a layer of economic support for black entrepreneurs.

This activation helped BET to thank their viewers and drive social media traffic for the brand.

BET and 135th Street Agency sought to execute a multi-market activation at black-owned and operated coffee shops across the nation. The idea was developed to give out free coffee at each location, creating a memorable experience for patrons.

Ten cities were selected to host the event: New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Washington, DC, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Detroit, Houston, Baltimore, and Charlotte.

The theme of the event was, "We got your coffee," which is a phrase in line with BET’s network tagline, "We got you."

Several marketing components with a BET-branded appreciation message were developed, including coffee sleeves, window signs, cups, and T-shirts. The message read: "You keep us hot! We got your coffee. #BETthanksyou today with coffee on us!"

The campaign team targeted one coffee shop or eatery per market and branded each location with posters, tent cards, window clings, T-shirts, and coffee cups.

To preserve the stunt’s organic, surprise element, pre-promotion was limited to several posts on social media from local ambassadors and short mentions at local radio stations the day before the activation on January 19.

A local radio personality was in attendance at each location to drive enthusiasm and consumer engagement.

The campaign’s primary goal was to generate positive sentiment around BET via social media, explained Saptosa Foster, managing partner at 135th Street Agency.

"We wanted patrons to walk into each location and feel welcomed, appreciated, and even a little entertained, and then turn to social media to share their pleasant experience," said Foster. "For many of our cities, January 19 was an extremely cold day, so the warm coffee and friendly chatter were comforting. We had such a great time engaging with the customers."

Notable guests supported the local coffee shops in-person and on social media during the event, including music producer Jermaine Dupri, Miami Dolphins safety Michael Thomas, Illinois state representative Ken Dunkin, Cougar Town actor Brandon Larkins, R&B music group Final Draft, and Power 105.1 FM host Angela Yee.

BET ambassadors were also on-site during the event to give out coffee, take photos with patrons, and encourage attendees to post their experience on social media. Photo and video content was captured and shared with press the following day.

The multi-market activation generated 10.9 million impressions between Twitter and Instagram from the hashtag #BETthanksyou. The hashtag also received 1,384 social media posts from 501 unique users.

The shops and restaurants involved distributed a total of 1,667 cups of coffee during the event.

"We are proud of BET for being a thought-leading client that invests in showing gratitude to viewers for their loyalty and 35-plus year commitment to the vital programming BET creates," said Shante Bacon, CEO at 135th Street Agency. "We look forward to the opportunity to collaborate in the future on ways to show gratitude while engaging consumers and driving a robust social conversation."

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