Food and Drink: Coffee creates a stir to deliver message

The British Coffee Association (BCA) was becoming increasingly concerned about negative media reports about the health risks of coffee.

Take 5: Red Door staff and a young couple have a coffee
Take 5: Red Door staff and a young couple have a coffee

The organisation, which represents UK coffee manufacturers, felt that a younger generation was being put off the drink and hired Red Door Communications to counter negative coverage.

Campaign: Creating an online stir with coffee
British Coffee Association
PR team:
Red Door Communications
December 2010-November 2011



  • To encourage more young adults to drink coffee
  • To promote the health benefits of coffee and address negative attitudes
  • To increase traffic to the BCA website by a minimum of 30 per cent.


A survey carried out by ICM backed up the BCA's fears that young adults were concerned about the health risks of drinking coffee. Among 18- to 29-year-olds, the survey found that 70 per cent believed coffee had no health benefits.

Just 22 per cent thought it was part of a natural balanced healthy diet and the average amount this age group thought was safe to drink was one to two cups a day, rather than the four to five cups the BCA recommended.

To target this age group, Red Door focused on the graduate recruitment sector, as well as pregnancy and family bloggers, and online media.

Campaigns included the 'Take 5 and Gain 10' slogan, which included a press release claiming that spending five minutes taking a break to drink coffee at work can increase your productivity and performance by improving alertness.

This included advice from dietician Dr Sarah Schenker showing that moderate coffee drinking is not a health risk.

Netmums and other online family media were targeted, with Schenker drafted in to address women's concerns around drinking coffee during and after pregnancy.

Her message was that in moderation coffee does not harm mother or baby.

Another health expert, Dr Christian Jessen, from Channel 4's Embarrassing Bodies series, was recruited and made a YouTube video. This was also embedded on the BCA's website and drove home the message that drinking four cups of coffee a day is not a health risk.


The Take 5 and Gain 10 promotion was sent to 140,000 graduates through the graduate recruitment website

The feature on the Netmums site gained 200,000 hits. Eight family and pregnancy blogs covered advice from Dr Schenker. Dr Jessen's YouTube video was viewed 11,000 times.


ICM repeated its survey during the campaign and the proportion of those who did not think coffee had any health benefits halved to 34 per cent.

This reduction exceeded Red Door's target of 20 per cent. The proportion who stated coffee was part of a healthy diet doubled to 42 per cent. Unique visitors to the BCA website during the campaign doubled, from 5,000 to 10,000.


That anyone needed convincing about the life-enhancing qualities of coffee is surprising, but this campaign successfully reached the 18- to 29-year-olds who did through highly focused social media targeting, appealing content and canny choice of celebrity.

The 'improve your performance' angle of Take 5 and Gain 10 resonated strongly with a target audience focused on personal productivity and progression.

The intense competition for graduate jobs meant targeting was guaranteed to deliver, and Dr Jessen - fresh from botched boob jobs and mystery rashes on Channel 4 - was a compelling celebrity medic for this age group.

For mums-to-be, Dr Schenker was exactly the kind of reassuring figure to assuage any guilt over the odd skinny latte and achieve cut-through with family bloggers.

We are seeing one or two hotels create coffee rooms, such as L'HOtel de Vendome in Paris. An equivalent in the UK would be a perfect venue for an event for food bloggers, highly influential among this young professional audience.

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