Melitta gives Philadelphia a taste of European indulgence

Melitta USA asked AOR French | West | Vaughan to come up with a holiday PR campaign that would engage influencers in Philadelphia and complement a TV ad for its café collection line of super-premium bag coffee.

Melitta USA (Clearwater, FL)
PR agency
French | West | Vaughan (Raleigh, NC)
Melitta Private Café
December 1-15, 2011


Melitta USA asked AOR French x West x Vaughan to come up with a holiday PR campaign that would engage influencers in Philadelphia and complement a TV ad for its café collection line of super-premium bag coffee.

The ad features a waiter traveling from Paris to deliver a cup of coffee to a woman in her home, reinforcing the brand's "European indulgence" positioning.

PR brought the ad to life through "private café" experiences, in which European waiters delivered a pour-over cup of coffee to individuals at their offices and other locations December 13-15. In the pour-over method, hot water is poured over coffee grounds passing through a filter into a single cup.

Additional waiters hosted "sidewalk cafés" in downtown locations.

"We wanted to get a more distinct connection with consumers," explains Chris Hillman, VP of marketing at Melitta USA. "In addition to promoting our café collection, we wanted to reinforce that Melitta is the inventor of the pour-over, so French x West x Vaughan incorporated that."

Philadelphia was chosen for several reasons, including that it was the test market in 2009 and the highest-share market.

Events were coordinated through social media, text messaging, and Google Apps. Videos, local media relations, and online ads also drove awareness.

Arik Abel, VP of digital services at the agency, explains, "[We wanted to] make someone's day, and ensure they could spread the word about it."

In early December, display ads promoting the delivery service and teasers ran on online media outlets in Philadelphia and Facebook.

The campaign was announced to local media on December 6. Delivery waiters appeared on local CBS and NBC morning shows to talk about the events and also to serve pour-overs to on-air talent.

French x West x Vaughan sent "Tweetvites" to Philadelphia's top 100 Twitter influencers on December 12 and 13. General consumers could also request a private café on Melitta's Facebook page.

Private café requests came in on Twitter or Facebook and two waiters worked the delivery service. The agency team in Raleigh arranged time and location details with recipients via email and texted the information to Abel in Philadelphia.

After confirmation was made, the Raleigh team researched the recipient, allowing the waiters to provide a customized experience, and scheduled the delivery through Google Apps.

Recipients got edited videos of their pour-over experiences and were encouraged to share them. Event videos and videos of all the waiters posing around town were posted to Melitta's Private Café YouTube channel. Four additional brand-professional waiters, trained by the agency manned two "sidewalk cafés," inviting passers-by to sit, enjoy a pour-over, and learn about Melitta. Foursquare invites were sent to people in the vicinity.

Hillman says, "The campaign was a big contributor to a sales increase of about 35% during [the events] and shortly after in the Philadelphia market."

Twelve influencers got private café visits. Recipients included a Blue Cross Blue Shield VP, who received the pour-over in an executive meeting. Abel says total reach hit 250,000 through the two TV appearances, Twitter, Facebook, the private cafés, and the sidewalk cafés.

The team is considering expanding this model into additional cities. 

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