Coffee Wars Heating Up

McDonald’s began national advertising this week for its McCafe line and its competitors are stepping up their game, trying to overtake, or at least share, the spotlight.


More than an estimated $100 million will be poured into the McCafé ad campaign with will reach consumers through TV, print, radio, outdoor, Internet, events, PR and sampling which began this week, Advertising Age reported. McCafé is expected to add about $1 billion to McDonald’s bottom line in the U.S. (about $75,000 per restaurant).


Not to be left behind, Dunkin’Donuts began promoting its 99-cent lattes and 50 cent iced coffees last week, in an attempt to keep customers from migrating to the fast food giant.


Starbuck’s also is responding with an ad campaign of its own. “There have been a lot of retailers targeting Starbucks,” Paul Pierce, senior director of merchandising for Dallas-based 7-Eleven told the Chicago Tribune. Seattle-based Starbucks is responding this week with a new ad campaign with emphasis on quality. “Beware of a cheaper cup of coffee. It comes with a price,” one ad warns.


McDonald’s has posted billboards in Seattle that read, “Four bucks is dumb,” in a jab at the coffee company, the Wall Street Journal reported.


So what’s a c-store to do? 7-Eleven recently added “Brazilian Bold” to its coffee fold, a stronger blend aimed squarely at the Starbucks customer Pierce said.


As the coffee war continues, c-store owners must find new ways to cater to consumer needs and make coffee an important destination in their stores.


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