Gevalia Takes Sip of Hispanic Market

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Kraft Foods' Gevalia Kaffe this week marks its first dedicated foray into the U.S. Hispanic market with a direct mail test aimed to get that ethnic audience into buying coffee by mail.

The company is targeting the partially acculturated and unacculturated segments of the U.S. Hispanic market. The offer: buy two half-pound boxes of Gevalia coffee for $10 and get a $99 retail value stainless steel coffee maker for free.

"We obviously feel this is an opportunity since this is a large segment of the population that's growing," said Jennifer Versacci, senior associate brand manager at Gevalia, Tarrytown, NY. "We do know that a fair percentage of our current consumers are Hispanic, so that is a fair indicator of the interest."

Consumers who respond to the initial offer, which includes free shipping and handling, automatically will receive monthly supplies of Gevalia coffee unless they indicate otherwise. They also can buy and pay per shipment. And they can opt out from this continuity coffee club by calling or going online.

The first mailer enters homes nationwide sometime this week. A similar mailing follows in early April. A total of 400,000 people will be mailed, more in the first drop than the second. Some names will receive Spanish-only mail, others bilingual.

Each mail package comprises an outer envelope, order form, brochure and sticker sheet. The colors are vibrant, like red and orange, instead of the brown typically associated with Gevalia print and insert media advertising. The brand is called Gevalia Cafe in its marketing material.

"It's very experiential," Gevalia senior brand manager Chris Nanos said of the package and its creative. "It's a good balance of promotions and talks about Gevalia's core equity as a coffee expert."

Recipients will be offered an array of Gevalia coffees, including roasts and darker varieties as well as ones that are more flavorful than typically sold. In another departure, the mail pieces will display images of men and women across all material in the package. Gevalia's demographic is skewed toward women older than 45 but includes men in that age group.

"Typically we don't feature people in advertising," Nanos said. "We leave that to people's imagination."

Foote Cone & Belding, New York, handles the Gevalia account as part of its Kraft business. But Gevalia outsourced the Hispanic mailing effort to another shop whose name it wouldn't disclose.

For its mailing, Gevalia rented a list of Hispanic mail-order buyers who indicated they wanted to receive information in Spanish. These names were selected from lists generated through Spanish-language promotions. Estee Marketing Group, New Rochelle, NY, was the list broker.

The mail drop timing was intentional, backed by results from previous Gevalia mailings to the general market.

"The first quarter is a big time for us," Nanos said. "The holidays are over. People are back inside. They're nesting. It seems there's a shift in behavior. Q1 is a big mailing time as well as summertime. January represents the back-to-routine schedule."

Gevalia conducted focus groups last fall in large Hispanic markets like New York and Miami to test the viability of going direct to consumer with this audience. The results were positive. But little information is available publicly that confirms the coffee-drinking patterns of U.S. Hispanics.

The nation's leading DTC coffee brand hopes to expand its market share beyond the 1 million-plus people who each year drink Gevalia coffee.

"We believe that because the [Hispanic] population is growing, they represent an opportunity for us to increase our number of active customers," Versacci said.

Mickey Alam Khan covers Internet marketing campaigns and e-commerce, agency news as well as circulation for DM News and To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting


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