Seventy percent of the world’s coffee supply is the same variety – arabica – and the majority of that arabica coffee is sold plain with no extra ingredients or flavors in the roast.
That means the hundreds of brands of coffee sold in grocery stores and restaurants are by and large the same. The only difference between them is in the roasting technique and the name that’s printed on the label.
The fact that coffee is such a uniform product makes branding especially important.
Some people choose their favorite coffee brand based on locality or the specialty flavors the company creates.
Others choose their favorite coffee brand based on advertising, the way the brand captures their imaginations or makes them feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Think of those classic Folgers’ Christmas commercials.
When it comes down to it, the coffee brands that have risen to the top of the market are those that have been around long enough, or have made enough of a splash, to enter popular culture.
That means advertising, and advertising means slogans.
Coffee Taglines That Have Made American Coffee Culture
Here are some of the coffee advertising taglines, slogans, and jingles that have captured the American coffee market, starting with some top performers.
“The best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup.”
When it comes to the most famous coffee slogans of all time, we need to start with the most popular coffee brand in the United States – Folgers.
Really more of a jingle than a slogan, “The best part of waking up” tagline serves as both, appearing in song form in TV commercials and on the radio and in tagline form in much of Folgers’ print advertising.
This slogan is so synonymous with the company, it’s hard to believe it’s only been around since 1984. (Folgers as a company has been around since the late-1800s.)
Today, Folgers is such a force in the American coffee market it outsells the next two most popular packaged coffee brands combined.
It should be noted, Folgers took this top spot in the late-1980s after it introduced its popular slogan.
Here’s the page from Folgers’ own website on how smart advertising, and one catchy coffee tagline, helped them corner the market –
Maxwell House Slogan
“Good to the last drop”
If there is any coffee slogan people in the U.S. recognize as readily as Folgers’ “best part of waking up,” its coffee competitor Maxwell House’s “Good to the last drop.”
This tagline was first used to sell Maxwell House coffee in 1915, and it kept Maxwell House at the top of the U.S. market for the next seventy years until Folgers (with their popular slogan) finally overtook them.
Today, Maxwell House is the third best-selling coffee brand in the United States (after Folgers and Starbucks), so, though it’s slipped, it hasn’t slipped far.
It’s still a major staple of American coffee culture.
Dunkin’ (Donuts) Slogan
“America runs on Dunkin’”
Though Dunkin’ as a brand is more associated with donuts – until two years ago, the company name literally had “Donuts” in it – the chain of coffee/donut shops has long been a contender in the coffee market.
More than half the sales in Dunkin’ retail stores are drinks, and Dunkin’s packaged coffee is the fourth best-selling brand in the United States after Folgers, Starbucks and Maxwell House. (Private labels sell slightly more than Dunkin’ brand, but that represents all private label coffees combined.)
Dunkin’s “American runs” tagline was launched by the company in 2006.
Do Coffee Taglines Make a Difference?
What may be most worth nothing about the four best-selling coffee brands in the United States is that three of them have well-known slogans, jingles, or taglines.
The only bestseller that doesn’t – Starbucks – has enough retail stores to be prominent in most regions of the country, as well as a recognizable mission statement:
“Our mission: to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.”
Practically, a slogan.
Starbucks also regularly incorporates slogans into their short-term ad campaigns. Slogans the company has used include:
- “The best coffee for the best YOU.”
- “It’s not just coffee. It’s Starbucks.”
- “Meet me at Starbucks.”
But those are just the bestsellers. There are multiple successful coffee brands in the U.S.
Here’s a list of famous coffee slogans that have done well for other popular American brands:
- Chock full o’Nuts: “The Heavenly Coffee”
- Green Mountain Coffee: “Better coffee, better day.”
- La Colombe: “America Deserves Better Coffee.” (more motto than tagline, but it’s the core company slogan)
- Death Wish Coffee: “The World’s Strongest Coffee”
- Lavazza: “Lavazza Coffee: Heaven in a Cup”
- Peet’s Coffee: “The original craft coffee since 1966.”
Now, we’re not saying a catchy slogan alone sells coffee, but plenty of coffee brands have shot to the stratosphere after brainstorming killer taglines.
Is Folgers the number one coffee brand in America because it’s “the best part of waking up?” Who knows?
But it seems the right coffee slogan can make consumers think AND make them drink.