Coffee shop lets people pay with loyalty points from rival chains 

Peet’s Coffee in San Francisco introduced a ‘disloyalty program’ to encourage people to switch from competitor chains

On 29 September, in celebration of National Coffee Day in the US, San Francisco-based coffee chain Peet’s Coffee allowed people to exchange their loyalty points from rivals for a free coffee.

People could redeem a coffee by visiting a microsite ( created for the Disloyalty Program campaign.

On the site, users could use their existing Peetnik Rewards account or create one, and then upload a screenshot showing their loyalty points balance from another coffee chain’s loyalty app. The free coffee could be claimed via Peet’s app.

Loyalty points could be borrowed from mega brands such as Starbucks, Tim Hortons and Dunkin’, but also smaller players like Dutch Bros, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Better Buzz, Joe and the Juice, Bluestone Lane and The Human Bean.

This campaign followed the September launch of Peet's brand platform, Coffee for Coffee People. It puts the spotlight on Peet’s core coffee offering and advocates for simplicity over complex sugary concoctions, with various satirical spots showing ‘coffee lovers’ ordering things like a ‘large passion fruit princess smoothie with glitter whipped cream’. Both campaigns were created in partnership with agency Mischief @ No Fixed Address, New York

In a press release, Jessica Buttimer, vice president of brand marketing at Peet’s, said: ‘We know that coffee people can be a bit promiscuous in their hunt for a great cup. So, we wanted to reward them for their loyalty to the drink because, no matter where else you get your coffee, coffee people deserve great coffee.’

Contagious Insight 

Kick the habit / This campaign familiarises people with the habit of going to Peet’s for coffee. This helps solve a business challenge for the brand, as Peet’s parent company, JDE Peet’s, has been losing market share to competitors and accumulating serious debt. To counter this slide, the chain here is targeting habitual coffee drinkers that frequent rival chains, giving them a great reason to give Peet's a try.

Encouraging them to sample Peet's coffee not only expands their consideration list of coffee destinations but also gets them to try the product, find out where their nearby branch is, create a Peet’s loyalty account and to download the app – all at once.

In short, the campaign serves as a comprehensive point of entry into Peet’s Coffee shops, attracting some of those ‘promiscuous’ coffee lovers Buttimer talked about – and turning that audience’s habits into an opportunity.

David & Goliath / With the Disloyalty Program, Peet’s Coffee leverages the strengths of its competitors: the significant levels of engagement with their loyalty programme. It’s a familiar exchange for coffee drinkers, accrue enough stamps and get a free cup. Big players in the coffee category have strong loyalty schemes: at its peak, over half of Starbucks’ sales were driven by rewards customers. This campaign sees the California-based coffee chain fight back. 

Consider this: exploiting your competitors' vulnerabilities is a well-established strategy, much like how David targeted Goliath's weakness with a stone. Using their strengths to your advantage, however, is a more original tactic. This approach resonates with people's natural inclination to support the underdog, making it an original yet powerful strategy that distinguishes Peet's Coffee in a highly competitive market.

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