A speculative social marketing initiative designed with four other graduate students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to increase healthy levels of coffee consumption among students. Designed as a final project for a social marketing class. Check notes for more background information on what is presented on the slide.
The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s study that was published at the beginning of 2015 established that integrating 400 milligrams (About 3-5 cups of home-brewed coffee) of caffeine into an individual’s daily diet has important health benefits for adults who do not suffer from hypertension. Some of the benefits of this 400 milligram rule that the article included were a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and lowered risk for developing Type II Diabetes. Also, there is a protective association between the consumption of caffeine and Parkinson’s Disease. This is according to a study published in the journal Movement Disorders from 2013. Although these positive outcomes exist, caffeine consumption has its downfalls when not consumed responsibly. In the past, caffeine was viewed negatively in reference to its consumption so as we were preparing for our focus groups, we were under the impression that drinking caffeine was a negative health habit and lowering it or removing it completely was what we needed to aim for. Those who drink an excessive amount of caffeine regularly do have a long term risk of lowered bone density which can lead to fractures according to a 2013 study done by the American Journal of Epidemiology. Also, hypertensive individuals should consume minimal caffeine as it will further increase blood pressure.
College students and drinking coffee go hand-in-hand. However, most students don’t actively track specifically how much caffeine they are consuming on a regular basis despite the fact that doing so is important for their health. In an environment where it is easy to track calories and exercise through apps such as My Fitness Pal and devices such as FitBit, the concept of conscious and controlled caffeine consumption should be a salient and relevant topic for them.
At the beginning of this process, we wanted to reduce the number of students who are consuming excessive amounts of caffeine. However, we discovered from the results of our survey data that students are not drinking enough caffeine based on the number of cups indicated by respondents. Therefore, we changed our SMART goal to increasing the amount of students consuming 400 milligrams or less per day. Since there are positive health benefits to caffeine consumption, we feel that this transition in SMART goal can be justified.
3 focus groups were held in different days: Monday February 25 , Monday March 2, and Wednesday March 4. Each werel held at 7pm at the Lincoln Hall Room 4057. Several Channels were used to recruit participants. Advertisment were dispersed as a digital copy on the researcher’s Facebook pages and groups. Emailing via student organization email list at U of I were used along with some face to face promotions at several different caffe around campus.
At every focus group, we had a moderator and at least 3 assistant moderators helping out with arrangements, refreshments, recording, taking notes, raffle (Visa gift card), welcoming and so on. 30 minutes debrief meetings were held right after the focus group.
Many students from the focus group mentioned that they consume coffee in need to be part of a social event with friends and co-workers. One of the participants mentioned, “I would go to Starbucks again if my roommate asks me to go with her even though I just had a cup of coffee”. Also, culture and family traditions often influenced students’ coffee drinking habits. Simple taste and smell of coffee was a huge motivation because sometimes people drink coffee not to gain energy or anything but only because they love the taste of it. The smell would trigger their desire to order a coffee.
The most significant barrier that students talked about was source of energy in order to keep up with the busy school works. Several of the students were using coffee as an energizing beverage to extend their hours of being wake up. In addition, lack of knowledge about caffeine consumption was another issue. None of the students knew how many caffeine was in a single cup of coffee or what is the recommended amount of caffeine per day. It was common in the focus groups for a participant to think 30 mg of caffeine was deadly, which is obviously not the case.
It was surprising for us to find out that some students associated caffeine with soda and energy drinks rather than coffee. It was brought to our attention that they either did not believe, or know, that the excessive consumption of coffee may affect their health in long run. They also believed that there were other important addictive issues to address on campus, such as, alcohol and drug addictions. Hence, the majority of the students felt that health interventions regarding caffeine consumption were unnecessary. However, they pointed out that because of their lack of knowledge on the health risks of excessive caffeine consumption, they felt that they might try to cut back on consuming coffee if they were made more aware of the health risks associated with it.
These quotes were all taken from our three focus groups.
According to our survey, almost 80% of students feel that they drink more caffeine after entering the college. However, they are not aware of how it affects their health and life patterns because they are not knowledgeable. To the right is the amount of caffeine that is recommended and some additional information. Important thing from the numbers though is that 1 cup of brewed or drip coffee only refers to homemade brews. The average amount of caffeine that is included in 1 cup of coffee from vendors like Starbucks is about 360 mg which is almost 4 times higher than coffee made at home.
College students drink coffee everyday both as part of their daily routine and as a way to help them gain more energy. However, our primary and secondary research has shown us that few of them are making an effort to consciously keep track of how much or how little they are consuming. We want to change their mindset about caffeine consumption and make the concept of tracking their levels of consumption as normal as tracking calories.
Exchange Theory: The cost to the students is taking the time to download the app and track their caffeine consumption. Social Cognitive Theory: We are focusing on raising awareness and knowledge based on the notion of behavioral capabilities. Working with the University to make policy to influence this to become a social norm. The Transtheoretical Model (Stages of Change Model) can both be applied to what we learned in our focus groups and to the implementation of our campaign. From our focus groups, we found that some students were not even thinking about if their caffeine consumption was too excessive let alone changing their behavior in the months to come. This applies to the precontemplation stage. There were participants who knew they drank much more caffeine than they probably should and others who just form the discussion and reflecting on their current habits, were considering limiting their consumption in the future. This would be the contemplation stage. From the focus group, there were not many people in preparation, or who were already thinking about reducing/ or increasing their caffeine intake. As for action, I remember a specific participant who was in the process of reducing their caffeine intake by replacing a cup of coffee with tea because it has a lower caffeine content and she wanted to lessen her dependence. This is the action stage because she was actively acting on the goal of limiting her intake, and had just started a few weeks prior.
We named our app “Coffeind” (caffeine fiend or coffee fiend). The main app is to track how much caffeine you’re taking each day.
The “home” page is pictured on the right. To add the amount of caffeine you’re taking, you click on the “+” button and the light brown part on the tumbler will go up and the milligrams will change. It resets automatically every midnight. If you click on the “track my caffeine,” it gives you a report that you can see by weekly, monthly, etc.
The map button is the top left and that will direct you to the page where you can find the nearest coffee shop based on your location. The coffee shops that will show up are our partners. Hypothetically speaking, they will have the milligrams info on their menus.
The connections button is the center top. Basically it will direct you to a page where you can connect with your friends or any coffee lovers. You can write statuses, post pictures, etc— related to coffee if possible, of course.
The information button is the right top and that’s where we will have our settings, account info, faqs, and most importantly, background information about our research, the risks of consuming excessive amount of caffeine, and benefits of consuming 400 mg of caffeine daily.
Lastly, whenever you want to go back to “home,” just press on the “coffeind” button.
The most impactful monetary incentive we wanted to integrate into the price strategy is the idea that limiting caffeine consumption also means limiting the expenses or money paid for the products. Also, items with lower caffeine content such as tea, tend to be cheaper than higher caffeinated beverages like cold brew coffee and espresso drinks.
As for non-monetary incentives, these really fall under two categories… convenience and improved health. Convenience because the app that is part of the initiative it literally at the fingertips of anyone who owns a smartphone, which most of our target audience of 20+ year olds owns. Lowered blood pressure is an important non-monetary incentive because heart disease is the number killer worldwide and high blood pressure is a contributing factor to heart attacks, strokes, etc. Improved sleep is an important benefit because instead of having to extend hours with caffeine and deprive sleep to get work done, limited caffeine intake will help student be alert enough to be productive to get work done, but won’t cause them to stay up late from a caffeine buzz and become further exhausted, fueling a vicious cycle. Lastly, caffeine can be addictive. Dependence on any substance is never a good idea. Not to say caffeine is comparable to a cigarette addiction but both can cost large sums of money and can be detrimental in excess.
We want to target students when they are at the point of decision making: coffee shops in Campus Town, restaurants, university dining halls, fraternity/sorority kitchens/dining rooms, TA offices, the Illini Union, ARC, and CRCE. These are all places where students, faculty, and staff obtain their sources of caffeine.
Our brand includes the coffee tumbler and a specific color palette (gray, brown, tan, and pink). Some of our taglines are: Drink responsibly - to catch the target audience’s eyes since they will most likely associate the phrase to alcohol Don’t be a coffeind - we created the word “coffeind” combining coffee, caffeine and fiend
We will use traditional and non-traditional channels when promoting the app, such as, posters, fliers, banners, as well as social media and digital signs.
Some examples of what we will create: posters, T-shirts, and coasters. All promotes the app using our taglines.
The first set of messengers will include the coffee shops we are pairing with for the application to track caffeine intake. The second set of messengers will actually be member of the Illini Coffee Club, a RSO on campus who gathers and enjoys quality coffee. The final messengers will be US of course!
Social media: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Snapchat Digital Signs: The Illini Union, Housing, Dining Halls, Campus Rec Magazines: On-campus Magazine, Campus Visitor’s Bereau, I-book Newspaper: Daily Illini and Inside Illinois
Phase 1: Fall 2015: Quad Day August 23rd: Partner with Illini Coffee Club to have a table on the Quad with the other Registered Student Organizations to give out promotional items (T-shirts, coasters, mugs, tumblers, car decals, stickers) and advertise the application and the upcoming launch party Launch Party for Phone App September 29th (National Coffee Day) partnering up with the Courtyard cafe to sponsor our launch party event for the Phone Application. By partnering up with the Courtyard Cafe they will provide a venue for our launch party for free. Benefits of partnership: Free Marketing Free Venue Courtyard Cafe will pay up 50% of hiring a special guest or DJ Courtyard will pay 50% of multimedia costs Partner with coffee shop to give out free coffee to attendees We will have our promotional giveaways
Phase 1: Winter 2015 Reading Day- December 10th Finals Warm-up Round Partnering with coffee shops around campus for promotional items and rewards Final Survival Kit: Partnering up with a coffee shop to provide healthy snacks, energy bars, and $5 coupon for a caffeinated drink up 400 milligrams
Phase 1: Spring 2016 April 9th: Mugs with Moms Partnering up with the Courtyard Cafe to have a Coffee and pastry tasting where students can bring their Moms during Mom’s Weekend Giving out mugs that “Drink Responsibly with your Illini Mom” A speaker to educate attendees on healthy caffeine consumption Promote app Reading Day- May 5th- Finals Warm-up Partnering with coffee shops around campus for promotional items and rewards
Phase 2: Fall 2016 Quad Day August 23rd: Partner with Illini Coffee Club to have a table on the Quad with the other Registered Student Organizations to give out promotional items (T-shirts, coasters, mugs, tumblers, car decals, stickers) and advertise the application and the upcoming launch party September 29th- National Coffee Day partnering up with a Social Media outlet such as Snapchat to create a “My Coffeind Story” and encourage students to submit photos captioned “A healthy 400 mg of *Emoji Coffee*” or “Drink Responsibly *Emoji Coffee*” at various coffee shops around campus that have partnered with us.
Phase 2: Spring 2017 Taste of the Union Participate in an annual celebration with Illini Union food vendors and our coffee shop partners Table at the event to promote app and give out promotional items Evaluation Survey for App users and General campus students to gage the effectiveness of the application May 6th 2017- SMI Success Celebration Giving away promotional items Partnering up with the Hooked app to give out special deals at local coffee shops Overall, celebrate the increased awareness of our product and what healthy caffeine consumption is
Develop App $30,000
Facebook Ads $5,000 budgeted Housing/Dining Hall Digitals $2,080 for 1 year contract, can change as often as we’d like Campus Rec Digitals $1,040 for 1 year contract, can change as often as we’d like Illini Union Digitals Free, if working with the Illini Union Food Vendors (this includes Starbucks, Latte Da, all Espresso Royale locations, Bevande, and satellite Einstein Bros Bagels) Newman Hall Digitals Free UI7 Still-Image Commercial Ads Free
Campus Visitor’s Bureau Ad $1,200 for full page, color ad On Campus Magazine Ad $1,485 for full page, color ad I-Book Ad $575 for full page, b/w ad DI Ads $5,178 for quarter page, b/w ad, ran bi-weekly in Fall and Spring semesters Inside Illinois Ad $3,060 for half page, b/w ad, ran monthly
Posters $2,500 for printing 1,000 per month Fliers $450 for printing 1,000 per month Banners $6,500 for 30 coffee shops and 100 frat/sorority houses MTD Exterior Bus Ads $2,820 for 1 year contract $1,920 for printing, changed 12 times for every month
Launch Party $5,000 budgeted SMART Goal Party $5,000 budgeted
T-shirts $5,860 for 1,000 4-ink color on front and back Coasters $800 for 10,000 Mugs $860 for 1,000 Tumblers $1,390 for 1,000 Stickers $900 for 10,000 Car Decals $700 for 2,000 Gift Cards/ Reward Cards $10,000 budgeted Finals Week Survival Kit $2,500 budgeted Mugs with Mom $2,500 budgeted
Prior to the campaign, we conducted a survey of general attitudes and knowledge of healthy levels of caffeine consumption among U of I students. During the campaign, we will track app downloads and usage, especially during the special events during the implementation plan for Mugs with Moms and the Finals Warm Up and for Quad Day and National Coffee Day. After the campaign is over, we will send out a survey to app users to learn about their knowledge about caffeine consumption and how often they consciously track their consumption as well as a general campus survey to see what the student body as a whole knows about consumption.
Caffeine Consumption in College Students' Diets
● In the past, regular caffeine
consumption was viewed
● However, new research has
found multiple health benefits,
including lowered risk for Type II
Diabetes and Cardiovascular
● Monitoring caffeine consumption
● Be informed consumers
Increase the number of University of Illinois
Students over 20 years old to consume 400
milligrams of caffeine daily by May 2016 from
● 3 Focus groups
● Approximately a hour
● Undergraduate &
U of I students
● $10 Visa gift card raffle,
pizza, fruits, veggies, &
drinks were provided
Key Learnings from Focus Groups
● Social aspect
● Daily routine
● Simple taste & smell of coffee
● Amount of school work
● Source of energy
● Sense of being left out
● Lack of knowledge of mg of caffeine
Key Learnings Continued...
Knowledge and Beliefs
● Connection between
caffeine & coffee
● Caffeine consumption
is the least concern
"I just miss the smell of it if I don't have coffee"
"I know some folks who extend their schedule... coffee actually allows
them to extend their days so they get less sleep"
"You don't really hear about people dying from tea or coffee - I've never
really heard of anyone die of excess amount of caffeine"
"I think for, especially for college students, in the arena of
things you could be worried about as far of substance abuse,
caffeine is low on the list"
“We want University of Illinois students
20 years and older to see drinking
caffeinated beverages, particularly
coffee, in a limited quantity of 400
milligrams or less a day as making an
informed choice and more important
and beneficial than excessive caffeine
Theories and Models
● Exchange Theory
● Stages of Change
● Social Cognitive
● Limited coffee consumption
means less $$$ spent on
● Lower blood pressure
● Improved sleep
● Break addiction/dependence on caffeine for energy
● Convenience -- the app at tip of fingers
● Be where students, faculty, and staff obtain
● Display posters containing app and caffeine
facts targeting students at the point of
● Drink responsibly: tagline on shirts and cups
● Coffeind: name for app and tagline for shirts
● Social Media
● Print posters
Messengers and Media Channels
● Coffee shops
● Illini Coffee Club
● Social Media and digital signs across campus
● Magazines and newspapers
● Posters, fliers, in-store signage
Phase 1: Fall 2015
● Quad Day Aug. 23, partnered w/ Illini Coffee Club
● Launch Party for phone app Sept. 29,
Co-sponsor w/ Courtyard
Cafe during National Coffee
Phase 1: Winter 2015
● Reading Day Dec. 10- Finals Warm-Up
● Finals Survival Kit
Phase 1: Spring 2016
● April 9, Mugs with Moms
● Reading Day May 5, Finals Warm-up
● Evaluation Survey for
App users and General
Phase 2: Fall 2016
● Quad Day Aug. 23,
partnered w/ Illini Coffee
● Continue print media
● Sept. 29, National Coffee
Day promotion partnered w/
Phase 2: Spring 2017
● Taste of the Union
● Evaluation Survey for App
users and General Campus
● May 6th 2017- SMI Success
Monitoring and Evaluation Plan
Prior to Campaign
● Survey of 160 respondents
● Focus groups
● Tracking app downloads & usage
● Survey for app users
● General campus survey