Folgers tunes in classic rock to try to perk up brand

Linda J. Dodson

Dive Brief:

  • Folgers, the coffee brand from J.M. Smucker Co., is out with a new campaign that ditches its iconic “The Best Part of Wakin’ Up”  jingle used since the 1980s and replaces it with “Bad Reputation,” a 1980 song by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, according to details shared with Marketing Dive.
  • The campaign acknowledges the brand has a reputation as grandma’s coffee and attempts to reposition it for a younger generation interested in premium home-brew coffee. The effort will be deployed across TV, online video, digital display, and streaming audio. A social media extension includes the #DamnRightItsFolgers hashtag.
  • In addition to replacing a jingle that has become a widely recognizable piece of advertising, the 170-year-old brand is also playing up a connection to New Orleans, where it claims to be one of the leading employers. Experiential activations are on the horizon as the campaign unfolds in 2022.

Dive Insight:

Changes in the way people consume coffee since the pandemic started two years ago are behind Folgers’ move to shake up its comfortable image. Since fewer people were getting coffee on their way to work, home brewing choices became more selective while many coffee drinkers are taking more of an interest in the source of beans and the way they are turned into an enticing beverage.

The Folgers refresh arrives on the heels of several other recent brand updates by M&M’s, Coca-Cola and Anheuser-Busch, a flurry of activity reflecting how marketers are trying to address the significant ways consumers have changed in the past two years. The move by J.M. Smucker Co. also follows similar ones the company has made recently to penetrate the attention of younger generations. Last year, it paired Jif peanut butter with hip-hop legend Ludacris. Earlier, it put its Café Bustelo on the red carpet for the Lin-Manuel Miranda movie “In the Heights,” and it has put its Meow Mix cats in big musical genres along the way.

“[The campaign is] just the latest example of the unapologetic, breakthrough creative that’s transforming the way we approach brand storytelling,” said Geoff Tanner, chief commercial and marketing officer at J.M. Smucker, in a press release.

J.M. Smucker is in good company with its focus on updating its jingle. Brands have been revamping jingles as music has become a bigger part of marketing efforts in the digital streaming era. The classic jingle has been declared dead by some in the industry as more brands license songs from recording artists. And yet some marketers are using jingles to create stronger sonic identities as more consumers listen to podcasts and music on platforms that carry ads.

For Folgers, its music choice is designed to support the brand’s message that the coffee is bolder than some may think.

“[The new ad’s music] complemented our desire to address people’s misperceptions about Folgers coffee head-on with a punk-rock rebelliousness that … continues to showcase the evolution of bold, unexpected creative. There is no better song to convey that feeling than ‘Bad Reputation,'” said Erica Robert’s, chief creative officer at PSOne, the agency behind the Folgers campaign.

The new campaign also reflects a sense of pride for New Orleans, where Folgers beans are toasted and roasted, and features local legends like Trombone Shorty, who collaborated on the music track. The video is filled with natives of the Big Easy, including Folgers employees, going about their day while downing coffee.

On a side note, last October an anonymous person bought the “Waking Up” jingle for $90,500, which put them in a position to earn lifetime royalties any time the jingle is used. In 2020, the jingle earned almost $12,000. In the previous decade, it had earned $38,000.

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