Inside Folgers' plan to swap its fusty reputation for punk-rock rebelliousness

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A new article on Marketing Dive reports that PSOne, the bespoke Publicis unit serving J.M. Smucker, is drawing out Folgers' unsung New Orleans roots and focusing on the craft story millenials care about.

Folgers has a reputation problem. In an era where bespoke coffee blends have firmly settled into the U.S. mainstream, the 172-year-old marketer still holds a place in many people's minds as the plain red tin in grandma's cupboard. Its marketing summons memories of TV ads featuring early morning sunshine, wafting aromas and a lot of stretching -- not to mention a few misfires -- along with a signature jingle about what the best part of waking up is.

The J.M. Smucker-owned brand carries such sleepy associations after decades of staying in its lane as a household coffee blend that serves about 35 million consumers annually, per IRI national consumer panel data, placing it at the top of the category. But like so much else, the pandemic has altered at-home routines in significant ways that mandated a renewed approach, with Folgers now seeking a fresh cultural edge.

Millennials and Gen Zers, who once skipped brewing their own Joe in favor of a morning stop at Starbucks on the way to the office, have purchased French presses, espresso machines and other coffee makers in massive numbers as they adjust to working from home. With that sea change, Folgers and agency PSOne, a bespoke Publicis unit for The J.M. Smucker Co., saw an opportunity to reinvent the label, while addressing what they view as widespread misconceptions. J.M. Smucker, whose other offerings include Meow Mix and Dunkin's retail brands, consolidated U.S. creative and media duties to Publicis in 2018, while PSOne took over the Folgers work the following year.

"People, especially a younger audience that's probably never made coffee or didn't do it as religiously as they are now, are getting into it," said Erica Roberts, chief creative officer at PSOne and Publicis New York. "We know that this new audience [believes] that craft is pretty critical.

Now, a new ad campaign creates what Roberts described as "a wake-up call for America" when it comes to understanding Folgers. The banner 60-second spot, titled "Allow Us to Reintroduce Ourselves," opens with a woman walking down a grocery aisle stocked with Folgers red cans, with the iconic jingle humming in the background. She makes eye contact with a hip young couple who appears to disapprove of her choice of coffee before joyously swiping the products into her cart as "Bad Reputation" by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts kicks in, overwhelming the soundtrack.
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  • Profile picture of the author WF- Enzo
    Can't believe Folgers still exists :O
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