A tale of two coffee brands: One uses sex to sell coffee beans, the other passion and storytelling

Cup full of coffee beans

The other day brought news that a Perth-based coffee company had taken down its Facebook page after experiencing first-hand the ire of consumers upset at the way the brand was using ‘porn inspired’ imagery to advertise its product.

According to Smart Company, the coffee bean distributor Fresh One bore the brunt of Collective Shout, the grassroots activist movement behind a recent campaign against the “sexist” advertising of razor company Schick.

I managed to check out Fresh One’s page before they pulled it down (here is a sample of the provocative ads they published on Facebook). UPDATE – the brand’s Facebook Page is back up again!

The social media ‘jungle drums’ started beating and it wasn’t hard to understand why. Fresh One was obviously going out of its way to be provocative using sexual and drug-based themes – personally, I felt it was all a bit naff and inauthentic, and obviously the people behind the campaign developed it intentionally for shock value and to get people talking about the brand. Which of course they did, directly on the brand’s Facebook Page.

In the overall scheme of things, it was a bit of a ‘storm in a coffee cup’.

BUT…

…rather than talk about out-dated, self-centred advertising, I’d prefer to highlight another coffee company that’s doing  a great job with its marketing  using content creation and social media. That company is UK-based Has Bean Coffee.

has_bean cup

Has Bean Coffee is the brainchild of former petrol station attendant turned coffee connoisseur, Stephen Leighton (aka ‘Has Bean Steve’).

Steve is personally active not only on social media but also in the content creation stakes, and as a result has built a global following for both his personal and business brand.

So what is Steve doing well? Let’s start with his story, which is authentic and charming and gives the reader (i.e. potential customer) a real sense of the humble beginnings of the Has Bean brand.

Next up is the weekly In My Mug online video show (at time of writing, Stephen was up to 291 episodes – here are all the videos on YouTube). This is where a lot of Steve’s content action is, and is a great example of what I like to call a content marketing ‘body of work’. (Cleverly, the In My Mug video series accompanies a coffee subscription service of the same name).

The company has a blog called  Has Blog; it features articles and news and videos and stories about the trips Steve takes to far-flung coffee producing countries.

While it’s a little neglected these days as Steve seems to be busy with his video blog, it still contains some meaty content that gives the reader a good sense of the philosophy and passion behind the Has Bean brand.

Tamper Tantrum

Then there’s Tamper Tantrum (“Coffee + Geekery + Soapbox”), which is “thrown hastily together” by Steve and his friend, three-time Irish barista champion Colin Harmon. According to its website, Colin and Steve created Tamper Tantrum to introduce a platform for their constant bickering and brainstorming: “It has reached a worldwide audience and inspired the live events which have attracted international speakers of an incredibly high standing in the coffee industry.” Check out the Tamper Tantrum podcast here.

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But for all the fun and shenanigans that surrounds the Has Bean brand, there is some serious informative content designed to educate people about coffee styles and origins, including articles and brew guides. More resources include a free espresso training book and coffee processing videos.

And to cap off the education side of things, Steve has created Coffee 101, a free 10-day course for beginners that covers all things coffee. Each day for 10 days participants receive an email on a different coffee topic, including coffee history, processing, how to get the very best out of your coffee and more.

In terms of social media, Has Bean has a half-decent Facebook Page with nearly 7000 likes, while Steve is very active on Twitter – he has tweeted some 40,000 times and boasts a following in excess of 19,000.

Oh, and sometimes the Has Bean crew just do some interesting and cool stuff with a coffee skew. Check out INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS – GREENWICH VILLAGE BLEND.

The Has Bean team show that with some enthusiasm and creative smarts, you can generate buzz on a global scale, not to mention build a community of genuine fans and followers of, and advocates for, your brand.

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G'day, my name's Trevor Young. Subscribe to the PR Warrior blog today and receive regular updates from me on all things PR, social media, content marketing and thought leader branding.

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