All About Coffee Part 83

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The Brazilian Society sent to the United States a special envoy, Theodore Langgaard de Menezes, to conclude arrangements; and on March 4, 1918, in New York, the pact was signed whereby So Paulo was to contribute to the publicity campaign in the United States approximately $960,000 at the rate of $240,000 a year for four years; and the members of the trade in the United States were to contribute altogether $150,000[346]. The success of the negotiations was due to the skilful management of Ross W. Weir in the United States, and to the superior salesmanship of Louis R. Gray, the Arbuckle representative in Brazil.


Supervision of the advertising in the United States was delegated to five men, representing both the importing and roasting branches of the trade, and designated as the Joint Coffee Trade Publicity Committee of the United States. Three of these committeemen, Ross W. Weir, of New York; F.J. Ach, of Dayton, Ohio; and George S. Wright, of Boston, are roasters; and two, William Bayne, Jr., and C.H. Stoffregen, both of New York, are importers and jobbers, or green-coffee men. The committee organized with Mr. Weir as chairman, Mr. Wright as treasurer, and Mr.

Stoffregen as secretary. At the invitation of the committee, C.W. Brand of Cleveland, then president of the National Coffee Roasters a.s.sociation, attended committee meetings, and a.s.sisted in determining the policies of the campaign. Headquarters were established at 74 Wall Street, in the heart of the New York coffee district, with Felix Coste as secretary-manager, and Allan P. Ames as publicity director. N.W. Ayer & Son, advertising agents of Philadelphia, who had engineered the plan of campaign from the start of the movement in the National Coffee Roasters a.s.sociation, handle the advertising account.


So Paulo’s contribution to the advertising fund is sent in monthly instalments to the Joint Coffee Trade Publicity Committee under an agreement that it shall be expended only for magazine and newspaper s.p.a.ce.



Supplementing this Brazilian contribution, is the fund raised by voluntary subscriptions from the coffee trade of the United States on the basis of one cent per bag handled annually. This American fund is used for the expenses of administration, for educational advertising outside of magazine and newspaper s.p.a.ce, and for various kinds of trade promotion and dealer stimulation.


The first advertising appeared in April, 1919, in 306 leading newspapers in 182 large cities, with a total circulation of more than 16,000,000.

The cities chosen represented all the centers of wholesale coffee distribution.

Magazine advertising began in June of the same year, using twenty-one periodicals, all of national circulation. This list has been changed from time to time to meet the special needs of the campaign.

More than fifty grocery-trade magazines have carried the committee’s dealer advertising, although not all of these have been used continuously. Every part of the country was represented on the trade-paper list.

Full pages have been run each month in nine of the leading national medical journals. These advertis.e.m.e.nts were written by a physician of national reputation. Under the caption, “The Case for Coffee,” these advertis.e.m.e.nts have discussed the properties of coffee from the physiological standpoint, and have asked the doctors to judge it fairly.

From the start the committee’s advertising has been broadly educational.

The properties of coffee have been discussed; charges against coffee have been answered. The housekeeper has been told how to get the best results from the coffee she buys; hotel and restaurant proprietors have been reminded that many of them owe their prosperity largely to a reputation for serving good coffee; new uses have been exploited for coffee, as a flavoring agent for desserts and other sweets; employers have been taught the important service good coffee may render in increasing the comfort and efficiency of their working forces.


Magazine and newspaper advertising is only the nucleus of the campaign.

The effect of such “white s.p.a.ce” publicity is increased by simultaneous efforts to “merchandise” the campaign, to stimulate the interest of the wholesale and retail trade, to encourage private-brand advertising, and to reach the consumer by other kinds of publicity recognized as essential factors in a well rounded national advertising effort. These activities may be summarized as follows:


INFORMATION SERVICE. This department answers inquiries and supplies material for household editors, and for newspaper and magazine writers.

Through a national clipping service, it keeps in touch with all published matter relating to coffee. Its special duty is to answer attacks on coffee and the coffee trade. Merchants and dealers make it a practise, when they find misleading articles or editorials in their local newspapers, to send clippings to the committee’s headquarters to be handled there as the situation warrants.

SCIENTIFIC COFFEE RESEARCH. Twenty-two thousand, five hundred dollars of the American fund have been appropriated thus far for scientific coffee research at the Ma.s.sachusetts Inst.i.tute of Technology. The reports of this research will be distributed to the coffee trade throughout the country, and should prove valuable in all branches of coffee merchandising. The findings will be distributed by the committee to schools and colleges, and to consumers through national advertising.


THE COFFEE CLUB. This organization was established for the purpose of educating the consumer through constructive team work by the roasters’

and jobbers’ salesman and the retail dealer. Under this plan, the committee has distributed 50,000 transparent signs for dealers’ windows, and 5,000 bronze coffee-club b.u.t.tons for coffee salesmen. By reference to the Coffee Club in national magazine and newspaper advertising, the retailer is given a chance to tie up with the campaign. Membership in the club is limited to those who are contributing to the publicity fund, and to their salesmen and customers. The club publishes a monthly bulletin in newspaper form, giving the news of the campaign. This has a circulation of 27,000 among wholesalers, salesman, and dealers.

[Ill.u.s.tration: MORE MEDICAL JOURNAL COPY, 1920]

BOOKLETS. The committee has published six booklets, which have reached a total circulation of more than one and a half million copies. These booklets are sold at cost to the coffee trade. The committee reports that, on an average, one hundred requests for them are received daily at its office from consumers in different parts of the country, and that the booklets are the means of a constant campaign of education in American homes and schools.

BRAND ADVERTISING. The committee is constantly making efforts to increase the amount of private advertising by coffee roasters, and it estimates that brand advertising has increased at least three hundred percent since the national campaign began. Reproductions of the committee’s advertis.e.m.e.nts, proofs of advertising electrotypes, and copy suggestions are circulated in advance to all roasters and to a large number of retailers, by means of the monthly organ, _The Coffee Club_.

COFFEE WEEK. During the week of March 29 to April 4, 1920, the committee organized and financed the third national coffee week, which was observed by retailers throughout the country. The feature of this week was a window-tr.i.m.m.i.n.g contest for which prizes of $2,000 were distributed among several hundred grocers. The contest resulted in displays of coffee in nearly 10,000 grocery windows, and greatly increased the sale and consumption of coffee during this period.

MOTION PICTURES. The United States fund financed the production and distribution of a coffee motion picture, 128 prints of which were sold to roasters, who exhibited them throughout the country. This picture was shown during coffee week to more than six hundred theater audiences, and it remains in the possession of the trade as an active advertising medium.



NEW USES FOR COFFEE. An important factor in increasing consumption has been the promotion of new uses for coffee. In winter, this has taken the form or recipes and suggestions for coffee as a flavoring agent; and in warm weather, there has been a publicity drive for iced coffee.

_Propaganda Results_

The joint coffee trade publicity campaign is progressive. New features are being developed, and plans are laid well in advance. It is expected that the reports of the scientific research will furnish fresh material for both direct and indirect advertising.

One of the interesting prospects is a school exhibit, demand for which has been revealed by requests from a large number of teachers, princ.i.p.als, and school superintendents. Efforts to increase the popularity of a product as widely used as coffee suggest almost unlimited opportunities.

The campaign has brought into co-operation producers in one country, and manufacturers and distributers in another country, several thousand miles apart. Its international character, and also the fact that it deals with a product of almost universal use, may account for the attention this campaign has received, not only in the United States, but in every country where advertising is a business factor.

This kind of coffee publicity has given the consumer a better knowledge of coffee, and broken down much of the prejudice against coffee that rested upon popular misunderstanding of its physiological effects.

As best evidence of its sincere wish to give the public the whole truth about coffee, the committee points to the fact that a portion of its funds is being used to finance the scientific investigation at the Ma.s.sachusetts Inst.i.tute of Technology.

Felix Coste, the secretary-manager of the campaign, spends much of his time traveling about the country and addressing gatherings of coffee wholesalers and dealers. By this means, and by continuous circularization and correspondence, the trade is kept constantly in touch with the developments of the campaign.



Report from 77 Advertisers]

Although Brazil is the only coffee-producing country at present co-operating, the advertising has treated all coffees alike. Efforts are being made to have the coffee growers of other countries contribute on a basis proportionate to the benefit they derive. Support from all the coffee countries on the same scale as that on which the producers of So Paulo are contributing would almost double the size of the fund.


_Coffee Advertising Efficiency_

Reverting to the original advertis.e.m.e.nt for coffee in English, when we compare it with the latest examples of advertising art, it is of the same order of merit. But Pasqua Rosee had no advertising experts to advise him and no precedents to follow. Pasqua Rosee was a native of Smyrna, who was brought to London by a Mr. Edwards, a dealer in Turkish merchandise, to whom he acted as a sort of personal servant. One of his duties was the preparation of Mr. Edwards’ morning drink of Turkish coffee.

“But the novelty thereof,” history tells us, “drawing too much company to him, he [Mr. Edwards] allowed his said servant, with another of his son-in-law, to sell it publicly.” So it came about that Pasqua Rosee set up a coffee house in St. Michael’s Alley, Cornhill.

And since Pasqua Rosee’s idea, naturally, was to acquaint the London public with the virtues and delectable qualities of the product of which his prospective customers were naturally uniformed, he put into his advertis.e.m.e.nt those facts and arguments which he felt would be most likely to attract attention, to excite interest, and to convince. If the reader will glance at Rosee’s advertis.e.m.e.nt, which is reproduced on page 55, he will be struck with the well-nigh irresistible charm of his unaffected, straightforward bid for patronage. Having no advertising fetishes to warp his judgment, he told an interesting story in a natural manner, carrying conviction. It matters not that some of the virtues attributed to the drink have since been disallowed. He believed them to be true. Few there were in those days who knew the real “truth about coffee.”

Even his typography, unstudied from the standpoint of modern “display,”

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