Maxwell House Shifts to Promos, Web

NEW YORK Ogilvy & Mather’s new “Brew some good” campaign for Kraft’s Maxwell House shifts to promotional and Web efforts in the next two weeks, with, for example, the marketer picking up the cost of highway tolls while distributing samples of its reformulated coffee.

For two hours on Wednesday morning—the day before Thanksgiving—an estimated 100,000 drivers in eight markets will pass through toll booths without having to pay. Instead, they’ll be greeted by signs that say, “Your toll is on the House,” and receive sample packages good for brewing a pot of the coffee, which is now made with 100 percent Arabica beans.

During the same time period (7-9 a.m.), Maxwell House will hand out free Metro cards, samples and brochures at five New York subway stations, one in each of the city’s five boroughs.

“We want to do some good,” said Bridget MacConnell, senior manager, corporate affairs for beverages at Kraft Foods in Tarrytown, N.Y. “We thought it would be a nice way also to give back to consumers.”

The Web effort revolves around a new microsite,, that Maxwell House will launch on Nov. 30. The site will enable consumers to upload photos, post videos and smile into a Web camera to get coupons. They’ll also be encouraged to share uplifting stories in the spirit of the brand’s positioning as a coffee for optimistic, hard-working, early-rising people.

Other upcoming promotional tactics include Maxwell House handing out more than 1 million free cups of coffee to mall shoppers in 14 cities beginning the morning after Thanksgiving, according to Tracy Lanza, a business director at Ogilvy sister shop OgilvyAction in New York.

(Other coffee brands, including Eight O’Clock Coffee, also will serve free coffee to shoppers on “Black Friday,” the traditional start of the holiday shopping season. The Maxwell House giveaway will run through the weekend.)

Finally, in concert with each toll paid, Maxwell House will donate money to America’s Second Harvest, a Chicago-based organization that collects and distributes food to more than 200 food banks in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. The donations will total $100,000. (Kraft, as a corporation, has a long-standing relationship with America’s Second Harvest, the largest hunger-relief charity in the U.S.)

Ogilvy here developed the Web site, while OgilvyAction is executing the promotional efforts. The latest tactics follow last month’s launch of the “Brew some good” campaign, with a TV spot and a print ad.

The 30-second spot, which was shot in Texas and New York, features images of adults and children working, playing and helping each other in early-morning settings. In one scene, for example, a mother pats her son on his back as he steps onto a school bus. Accompanying the images is a voiceover that says, “Let’s celebrate the optimists—the ones who always see the cup half full.” The spot ends with the line, “The naysayers, the second-guessers—let them sleep in. It’s a new morning. Let’s brew some good.”

The execution was designed to generate a “slight smile” and is “more emotional” than the microsite, which is “a little more whimsical,” said Joe Johnson, Ogilvy’s group creative director on the account.

Maxwell House’s previous TV spots were set to Madness’ 1983 hit, “Our House,” with groups of people singing along, albeit with new, brand-focused lyrics. Those ads employed the brand’s long-running tagline, “Good to the last drop,” which now has been incorporated into Maxwell House’s logo.

The budget for the new campaign was not disclosed. Kraft spent about $23 million in major measured media on the brand last year and about $9 million in the first eight months of 2007, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.