Product / ServiceCOSTA COFFEE
CategoryB08. Sponsorship & Brand Partnership
Idea Creation KETCHUM Hong Kong, HONG KONG SAR


Name Company Position
Kayla Cui Ketchum Associate Account Director

Why is this work relevant for PR?

Costa Coffee’s partnership with car hailing app Didi was a classic case of online engagement being converted into offline sales. The excitement came from marrying the app’s online broad penetration into business targets via their daily travel touch points, with product display & give-away in 200 cars, and creative brand exposure as coffee corner set-up & logo on coffee & menu cards in near 150 ground-floor shops. The additional partnership with GQ magazine carried the story broader in lifestyle media. No paid ATL advertising was involved.


• Situation: Around the world each year coffee consumption increases by 2%. By comparison, in China coffee consumption is increasing at an annual rate of 15% - 20%. On average, each person drinks up to 20 cups of coffee per year in China compared to the average consumption in a more mature market of around 400 cups. Clearly there is a lot of potential yet to be captured in China’s growing coffee scene. • Brief : Capturing On-the-Road Coffee Lovers • Objectives: To stay at the top of China’s growing coffee sector we needed to take a new innovative approach to marketing to stand out, build brand top-of-mind awareness and preference.

Describe the creative idea (20% of vote)

Costa’s target users are mainly upscale business people, so their daily routines were put under the microscope.This revealed that, while coffee delivery was on the rise, any journey taken during the day remained an opportunity for store visitation. Also, the ubiquitous use of taxi hailing apps was making business travel between meetings easier and more predictable and premium limousine style services are how today’s busy executives prefer to arrive. This insight actually allowed Costa to disarm two of its fastest growing groups of competitors. It simultaneously neutralized the delivery advantage of the coupon-based brands while boutique taste and feel were overcome by Costa’s store network which meant you are always close to a premium coffee experience no matter where your meeting was taking place.

Describe the strategy (30% of vote)

• Target audience: upscale business people • Target media : GQ Lab (media partner) • PR planning : Armed with this insight it was time to put Costa in the driving seat, literally. The journey to and from meetings involved more than a visit to a coffee store. More time was actually spent in the back of a cab than in a store. This provided a unique opportunity to intercept potential new customers with a surprise from Costa. • Approach: a partnership with China’s Uber-killer car hailing app DiDi which itself was seeking to upgrade its positioning in the premium private car service category and build loyalty among its customers. DiDi’s premium service brand positioning – ‘make travel more sophisticated’ (让出行更讲究) – aligned well with Costa’s 2018 brand message, ‘Don’t settle for average.’ Costa’s sophisticated (‘Jiangjiu’ in Chinese) summer journey was born.

Describe the execution (20% of vote)

• Implementation of the PR :Two of Costa’s flagship stores in Beijing and Shanghai were redecorated featuring artistic wire frame DiDi limousines to provide an interactive and shareable experience to store visitors. 180 offline retail stores nationwide offered a “Costa x DiDi” limited edition gift set containing Costa’s signature roasted beans and a special edition coffee cup. 200 DiDi’s premium cars were sent nationwide with the Costa x Didi promotion decal on the exterior bodywork and the limited edition gift sets, coupon and message on the back seat to surprise the riders and encourage them to share their surprise on Weibo. a partnership with hot new media title GQ Lab and invited their star editors to shoot VLOGs at the feature flagship stores and while riding in DiDi’s premium cars, write articles and create comics to support the promotion. • Timeline : July 2018 • Scale: 180 Costa's shops, 200DiDi

List the results (30% of vote) – must include at least two of the following tiers:

• Tier 1: 3,285,615 impressions across Weibo and WeChat with an engagement rate exceeding 7% all of which significantly extended the reach of the partnership beyond the 800,000 readership of the print edition of the magazine. • Tier 2: Over 200 million impressions were generated from the DiDi app