Country Style invites coffee lovers to quarrel

The Canadian coffee-shop franchise's 'Coffee Lovers Quarrel' campaign is underway, an online social media-style promotion to engage consumers with the brand and drive awareness.

Forget Valentine’s Day – nothing ignites Canadians passions like bringing up what brand of coffee they like best. Just say Tim Hortons to a Starbucks lover and watch the sparks fly.

Country Style, a Canadian-based chain of franchised coffee shops and Bistrodeli shops (wholly owned by St. Laurent, QC-based MTY Group), is seeking to capitalize on Canadians’ love of coffee with the ‘Coffee Lovers Quarrel’ website. Creative was handled in-house and in collaboration with the company’s web firm of choice, Barrie, ON-based Tyger Shark.

An online-only promotion, the website offers people the opportunity to side with coffee-loving couple ‘Becky’ and ‘Johnny’ on what kind of coffee experience they prefer. Becky likes drive-throughs, lineups and indifferent staff (insert other chain’s name here) and Johnny likes his coffee fresh, quick and with a smile. You can vote for which argument you like best, and win the chance to get free Country Style coffee for a year. Site visitors can also post their thoughts on the debate, view the voting results to date, send a postcard for a coffee date to a friend, or follow Jonny and Becky on Facebook.

A Nissan Sentra is featured prominently on the site, as an extension of their partnership with Country Style for its ongoing ‘Turn up a winner’ coffee-cup prize contest.

While ‘Turn up a winner’ is an established promo for Country Style, ‘Coffee Lovers Quarrel’ marks the first time the company has launched an interactive, social media-oriented promotion. Building an interactive campaign around ‘coffee wars’ seemed like a natural fit, Rita McParland, VP marketing, Country Style, tells MiC.

‘The idea came up because last year, we kept seeing articles on coffee wars,’ she says. ‘Canadians love coffee, they love talking about coffee, and they love coffee shops. We wanted to create a forum where people could talk about what they love.’

Promotion for the website is limited to social media, such as Facebook, and an email blast to 50,000 Country Style customers. Almost 70 people have voted and commented on the site since it launched over a week ago, and 90 people have signed up as fans.

The site complements a bigger media campaign to promote Country Style’s Coffee Lovers Day on March 3. The media support will include a rare 52-week TV buy on Citytv and Omni, handled by Toronto-based C4 Media and starting Feb. 26, that will include tags for the free coffee giveaway for the first week, and an ongoing buy with Virgin Radio and Q107.