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Nescafe Calls Starbucks' Instant Coffee Bluff

Posted by Peter Feld on November 19, 2009 06:12 PM

It's got to sting when you go slumming, only to have the slum-dwellers tell you that you don't measure up.

To review: under pressure from Dunkin' Donuts and McDonald's, and with its brand value in decline, Starbucks introduced Via instant coffee with an in-store taste-test promotion intended to prove that the new instant can't be told apart from the store brew. Not the best way to maintain a brand that was built upon premium-quality coffee and the idea that Starbucks stores are America's "third place" (after home and work), we thought.

Starbucks demolished Nescafé in the '90s. Why would they now want to copy them?

Nescafé had the exact same idea, it seems. En route to brandchannel HQ this morning, we saw Nescafé workers (happy to pose with their banner) setting up a sampling station for a taste test of their own. Their graphic contrasts an unbranded, but clearly Starbucks-looking paper cup of instant (over a package that uses the Via colors) with a ceramic mug featuring the updated Nescafé logo above a Taster's Choice package. The copy reads: "A lot of hype. OR a lot of flavor."Continue reading...

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