September 26th, 2019

Ads That Will Have You Thirsty for a Cup of Joe


Ace Metrix

The Fall season has officially begun along with the arrival of National Coffee Day on September 29th. On this day, brands like Starbucks, Dunkin’ and Folgers advertise their existence, which we can all appreciate whether we like our coffee hot or iced, espresso or Americano, with cream and sugar or black.

In recognition of National Coffee Day, we analyzed ads that drove viewers’ thirst for the versatile beverage from two of the leading coffee QSR brands. Out of Dunkin’ and Starbucks’ 2019 ads that featured coffee-related products, the following achieved the strongest scores on our Thirsty metric. We spill the [coffee] beans about these ads further below.

Rank Brand Ad Title Thirsty Score
1 Starbucks The Art of Cold Foam Cold Brew 7.3
2 Dunkin’ A Whole Latte New Creations 6.5
3 Dunkin’ Sweet Taste 6.4
4 Starbucks Whoa Nitro 5.8
5 Dunkin’ Amazing Coffees 5.3

Combined emotional profiling of the five ads in the emo plot below reveals viewers’ connected most to product attributes, with signal seen on metrics like Thirsty, Prodtastic and Convenient. Additionally, some of the ads appealed to viewers’ visual senses, setting off the Colorful metric. The emotional impact of each ad is derived from applying NLP and machine learning techniques to tens of millions of viewer verbatim comments, which capture their gut reactions. Emo Plot: 2019's Thirstiest Coffee QSR Ads

The Prodtastic signal seen in the emo plot is represented in a sample of viewer verbatim comments that show an array of encouraging feedback regarding the cold brew product advertised in Starbucks’ “The Art of Cold Foam Cold Brew”:

 “I love cold brewed coffee and am a fan of Starbucks. The coffee appeared delicious especially with the foam. The visual effects were effective in making me crave the coffee.” Female 36-49

“This makes the coffee look amazing and makes me wonder how they get the foam to be cold like that! It is a good ad, classy and simple” Female 21-35

“I thought this was a very appealing ad. Right from the start you know it’s from Starbucks and the product visuals are very enticing and appealing – just in time for the coming warmer months! Nice work.” Male 50+

Dunkin’ Ads Play With Humor

Beyond its products, Dunkin’ connected with viewers through humor in all three of its ads on the list. Poking fun at reality TV fans, the 15-second “Amazing Coffees” generated the most laughs among viewers, earning solid signal on our Funny metric.

Eye-Catching Colors

Most of these coffee ads used a wide range of hues. Some viewers showed positive response to the colors emphasized, which set off our Colorful metric (seen in the emo plot above). Evident in the screenshots below, the Dunkin’ ads focused on the brand’s signature pink and orange colors, whereas “Whoa Nitro” from Starbucks gravitated towards a more Soothing pastel palette.

Dunkin' and Starbucks ads with colors

In this verbatim comment, the viewer expresses a positive affinity to the colors used in Starbucks’ “Whoa Nitro”:

“It was good. I liked the message of being velvety smooth, the woman on roller skates :), the alternating views of the drink and the people drinking it, the way it made you wonder what it was about until the end, the tantalizing key words, the colors and “hipness” of the ad. I liked the music too.” — Female 50+

High Brand Recognition

It’s no surprise that these 5 ads served up high levels of Brand Recognition. On average, 90% of viewers showed some form of brand name recall (misspellings included) across the ads. Despite co-branding with Hershey’s, Dunkins’ “Sweet Taste” had the highest Brand Recognition at 92%. However, 51% of those respondents added the passé “Donuts” after Dunkin’.  The familiarity and recognition visualized for Starbucks’ “Whoa Nitro” in the word cloud below shows the product was recognizable in addition to the brand:

Starbucks "Whoa Nitro" Brand Recognition Word Cloud


However you plan to celebrate this National Coffee Day, we’re sure these ads served as a great reminder of the powerful effect of stimulating viewers visual and auditory senses. We look forward to whatever else these brands (and many others) have brewing for the rest of 2019 and beyond.


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