Last Updated on 14 April 2011

Feeling the need to defend yourself is a sign you feel threatened. Spending money on advertising to dissuade or change people’s minds about your competition is a sign you are afraid.

My buddy, John Moore from Brand Autopsy, sent me these pics from Chicago. They’re bus shelter ads for Nescafe’s Taster’s Choice instant “coffee sticks” targeted directly at Starbucks new VIA instant coffee.

VIA is Starbucks new instant coffee product, currently testing/available in Seattle, Chicago, and London.

I don’t know if Starbucks is advertising VIA. Nor do I know how well the product is doing. Nevertheless, I think Nescafe feels threatened.

Taster's Choice Ad 1
Taster's Choice Ad 2

Two Key Thoughts

(1) They are actually building more awareness for Starbucks. As a Taster’s Choice drinker, I may – through Nescafe’s ads – have learned that Starbucks has a new, similar product (even if it is more expensive… hmmm… I may have to check it out.

(2) The ads talk about variety and low price, but not quality and taste. This indicates to me that Nescafe has to avoid the taste discussion, knowing Starbucks is better.

400% More Expensive

400% more expensive sounds like a lot. But, doing the math, Starbucks VIA is around 83¢ a cup and Taster’s Choice 24¢. I don’t have research, but I don’t think the ONLY reason people drink instant coffee is because it is cheap. It’s convenient.

If Starbucks tastes 400% better than Taster’s Choice… it may be worth the extra 59¢ to spurge for Starbucks.

Thanks for the pics, John