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“May Your Coffee Be Strong and Your Monday Be Short”

Once A Week, But Never Weakly

2 969

by Nick Coston, U.S. Sales Director, The Neuron; OOH Industry Humorist

Good copy makes us look great. Great copy makes us look outstanding. Our goal in OOH and DOOH should be that all our copy is great, not a shred below. There’s no excuse, not with all the talent in our industry, not with these big beautiful canvas’s they have to work with. Doesn’t matter if it’s static, digital, motion, video, if it looks good, it’s worth so much more than just a plain ad.

Death Wish Coffee Company, based in Saratoga Springs; NY, has done just that. Created outstanding OOH copy. Funny thing is, as a prolific coffee drinker, that up until this afternoon, I never heard of them, nor have I ever tried their Java. But I love their advertising copy and the way they use multiple versions.

They plastered Penn Station in NYC recently, hitting the thousands of daily commuters who trudge thru the windowless, tile tunnels. With eye-catching copy of a not so well-known product, yet, making a big splash just a few blocks south of Times Square is one way to do it. It’s a similar philosophy that South of The Border did with billboards back in the 70s and 80s, up and down Interstate 95.

It’s just not one ad or two or three. It looks to be one of those station domination type OOH buys, it’s all over the place you can’t escape seeing the products. And as a media buyer for over 10 years, let me tell you that is one of my favorite types of show me the money and in your face advertising. it’s almost like it’s telling the passengers a story, keeps them engaged and looking for the next one. I hope when the next Obie awards come around this is the type of product with this kind of media buy that needs to be on top. This is a true out-of- home experience. I don’t know if they use an advertising agency, I have no idea who thought of this plan, but I love the aggressiveness of it. I look forward to seeing what Death Wish Coffee does next, and I can’t wait to try it. Boiling hot and black of course.

Has coffee become the new tobacco of our industry? Is caffeine as tantalizing as nicotine? Is this “bad boy” type copy a prototype of what is to come? I kind of hope so because I certainly miss some of the iconic tobacco copy. It was colorful, it created characters even though it glamorized a bad habit, and it sold billions. Coffee, although nowhere near the health risks that tobacco carries, in fact a cup of Joe carries a lot of benefits, has that same cache. Like tequila or small-batch bourbons, these “look a Skelton man is drinking it” style branding makes for amazing copy.

And that’s what keeps us in business, amazing copy. Some of the best out-of-home visuals come from the smaller brands, many that are just beginning to promote their babies. It’s like a new film director who brings new ideas and fresh thoughts to the screen, keep those eyeballs engaged, make the consumer think.

That’s why when I saw what this little known coffee company from upstate New York was doing all over one of the busiest train stations in the U.S., it immediately caught my attention. And it should, that’s why they did what they did. I’ll put my money where my mouth is, purely because of their advertising effort I’m going to order the product. I’m a sucker for great creative.

Now, if we can only run billboard copy with a small lizard sucking on a lit Camel while enjoying a hot, mug of coffee, I might have that OOH trifecta I’ve been looking for. Until then, enjoy Death Wish and their clever, distinctive copy while you race for your train.


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  1. Thomas+R+Giesken says

    That first paragraph of this article is the best I’ve read ever here. The best of yours Nick(and i read all yours) and the best of anybody else’s. It’s effectiveness is in it’s simplicity but also in it’s incredible value. It really resonated with me for some reason. We DO have Big Beautiful Canvas’s, both digital and static, and we shouldn’t be allowing anything less than WOW on every screen or canvas!!! This first paragraph should be tomorrow’s quote of the day!!

  2. It’s effectiveness is in it’s simplicity but also in it’s incredible value
    thank you for the comments Thomas R Giesken. Right on point!

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