Kraft Foods Group is planning a major campaign to back the national rollout of McCafe bagged coffee, which is expected to begin hitting stores next week. The product is being introduced in partnership with McDonald's.
DDB Chicago, which is McDonald's longtime national agency, has been picked as the lead creative agency for the campaign, which is expected to begin in the first quarter of next year, Kraft confirmed to Ad Age. The effort is expected to include national TV, print and digital. Kraft is leading the manufacturing, distribution and marketing for McCafe in stores.
"We're excited to begin the journey of McCafé in retail with DDB," Adam Butler, marketing director for McCafe at Kraft, said in a statement. "Their strategic expertise and knowledge of both the McCafé brand and CPG sector are invaluable as we bring one of America's most beloved and fastest-growing coffee brands to the grocery aisle later this month."
Kraft and McDonald's began testing the coffee in select markets earlier this year. In August, the two marketing giants announced their intentions to take the product national. Varieties will include premium roast, breakfast blend, French roast, Colombian, decaf, French vanilla, hazelnut and French roast whole bean. The coffee will also be available in single-serve "K-Cup" format geared for Keurig machines.
Kraft did not hold a formal agency review for the advertising. "DDB worked on the test market creative, and offers valuable knowledge of both the McCafe brand and CPG sector as we ready for the retail launch," a Kraft spokeswoman said in an email.
McDonald's began selling packaged coffee in some of its Canadian restaurants in 2012. In the U.S., Kraft and McDonald's must compete with Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts, which have long had their names on bagged coffee sold in stores. Kraft previously had a distribution deal with Starbucks, but the relationship soured in early 2011 and the two companies parted ways. Kraft's existing coffee portfolio includes Maxwell House, a mainstream brand, and Gevalia, which is more premium.
But McCafe, with its widespread brand awareness, might offer Kraft a better opportunity in the premium category than Gevalia, suggested Rick Shea, a former packaged-food marketing executive and president of Shea Marketing. "Kraft since the loss of Starbucks needed a brand in the premium segment," he said. "McCafe, obviously with the marketing power of McDonald's ... I think gives them a shot again at becoming a player," he added, although "it's still up against very formidable competition."