Launching a new product is always a scary enterprise for a brand, even one as vast and successful as Safeway Vons. With supermarkets across the West Coast (and supermarket of choice for yours truly when he lived in Los Angeles), Safeway has clearly built a permeating brand. But they had a new line of coffee to launch and needed solutions to raise awareness for that new line of coffee. That’s where we came in.


Sometimes, even amongst all the fancy new technologies that, yes, we toil and excel in, you have to get back to basics. We wanted to create a campaign on the streets, on a person to person level. We wanted to flex our guerrilla marketing abilities. To get to this vital conclusion, we had to think about coffee, and drink coffee, and drink more coffee. Really, we feel pretty well-versed in coffee around here.

But in this experiment, we realized that how we decide what coffee to drink and where to get it. It’s a word of mouth experience. Everyone around the office in Lexington has a different coffeeshop they prefer, and when we asked how you ended up at that coffeeshop, we heard a few different refrains. We constantly heard things like “I heard about it from a friend.”

So we set out to capitalize on the word of mouth nature of coffee.


We set up branded ambassadors for Safeway with coffee dispenser backpacks offering free samples of Safeway Select coffee to commuters in downtown Portland on their way to and from work. We knew we had to hit the primary demographic who drinks coffee and get them to realize just how amazing the new line of coffee was. We also set up branded tents in locations throughout the city near Safeway locations to encourage customers of Safeway to try the new line of coffee.

This might sound like a simple and easy solution, but in addition to this we coordinated with city officials for all required permits, reached out to radio stations and remotes for premium air time, and organized an aggressive public relations campaign to augment our efforts. This campaign included media appearances at local fire and police stations, connecting the new line of coffee with the best of the community.


The campaign resulted in thousands of samples of free coffee distributed to a key target audience. We also received media coverage in print, radio, and television for our client, further spreading the word about Safeway Select coffee. And we’re also pretty proud that Safeway Select coffee is still a popular and thriving product for Safeway Vons.

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