Salton ads tout sex and the single cup

By Published on .

In the time it takes to have a quickie, you could make a steaming cup of gourmet joe.

That's one storylines in a spot J. Walter Thompson, Chicago, just finished shooting for the debut of a single-cup coffeemaker called One:One by Salton, the company behind the popular line of George Foreman Grills.

In two TV spots shot in Los Angeles by Rocky Morton, animal instincts make the point that there's a better way to brew a great cup of gourmet coffee. The first spot features a turnabout on a Jane Goodall-type character trying to teach a gorilla to talk. The tables turn after the scientist makes coffee, and the gorilla observes that her cognitive skills are strong but her coffee-making skills primitive.

More pointedly, the second spot shows a guy in bed waiting for his woman to return as she starts a cup of coffee. After the quickie lovemaking session, she retrieves her cup as her partner commends her performance. "That was great, baby," he says, as the voice-over says, "If you've got 60 seconds, you've got time for the perfect cup of coffee."

Salton did not return calls for comment; the WPP Group agency declined to comment.

The steamy creative is reminiscent of an award-winning 2001 ad for Heinz Microwaveable Soup from Leo Burnett, London. In the spot, a woman leaves the bed after a round of lovemaking to retrieve her soup from the microwave-which has cooked in two minutes.

capturing imagination

Upper-end single-cup brewers are a relatively new phenomenon on this side of the Atlantic, but a slew of brands are expected to storm America soon. One, called the K-Cup by Keurig Premium Coffee Systems is partnering with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters to help make it standard for premium-branded coffee. The unit will sell for $249.95.

One:One is one of the so-called pod-based brewing systems that use individually wrapped and pre-measured discs of coffee. It will be priced much lower, at around $50. According to a Salton conference call with analysts, the product will compete with Philips Electronics Corp. and Sara Lee Corp., which have sold more than 3 million units overseas at roughly $200 a pop. But Lake Forest, Ill.-based appliance company Salton wants to be first to market in North America.

Salton needs to capture consumers' imagination to fend off brewing competition. According to an executive close to the marketer, Salton also will use its marketing savvy and deep pockets to outflank the competition. TV, print, a dedicated Web site and an infomercial are also expected to push the brand.

Manufactured by Salton under the Melitta name, the One:One is one of a spate of new products the company is betting on to expand its reputation beyond the grills hawked by the former boxing great.

In the company's third-quarter conference call May 13, Salton CEO Leonard Dreiman said he expects the pod coffee makers to be sold out through December. In that quarter ended March 29, the company posted a loss of $12.1 million on a poor Christmas due to the weak economy, pending war, and a dock lockout. In the same period in 2002, the company recorded net income of $3.9 million.

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