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What is VIA?

September 27, 2009

Friday afternoon I finished work and met my sister for coffee, at a Starbucks. And it was somewhere between sips 2-5 of my Izze that I looked up and saw a large poster proclaiming, “Via is coming…”

Good teaser, especially since I hadn’t been inside of a Starbucks for several weeks.

I know now that VIA is 2 things. 1) Starbucks new brand of instant coffee, and 2) an acronym for Very Impressive Advertising.

On Thursday’s episode of Saturday night live, Starbucks put up four 15-second spots for VIA. If you go to the Starbucks youtube channel, you can watch taste tests, road-trips to pass out samples and some regular people tasting the VIA brew.

It’s on Twitter, it’s on youtube, it’s everywhere where the Target demographic is going to be researching their buying decisions and learnign about new products. So obviously we like the marketing.

But, there’s two product-related things I like about VIA. 1) The packet is simple. According to the Youtube instructions, you add the packet to a cup of hot water, and you have coffee. If it’s that simple, most people will be sold. And if they’re smart, they’ll sell the packets single-serve in stores to take away the McCafe business from McDonalds. Who wouldn’t take advantage of the ambience of Starbucks to get their morning coffee if they just had to pay for a cup of hot water and a packet of VIA?

The only thing I’m waiting for is the taste-test to see how it stacks up with the coffee from my Keurig. If they have flavor variety, then this is a huge win for Starbucks and an extremely dangerous competitor for the Keurig. So, of course, in the next few days check back for a follow-up post regarding a VIA taste test.

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