A 35-year old company, West Coast-based Peet’s Coffee & Tea has a loyal following in the regions surrounding its brick and mortar retail stores. Recognizing the opportunity to grow its customer base nationwide through its online presence, Peet’s Coffee & Tea retained Red Whistle Communications to expand the reach of the company’s brand. Challenged to find a way to tell the story of an artisan product in a new economy, Red Whistle brainstormed ideas that would give the story both a news hook with the media as well as create a call to action for a consumer audience. From this challenge, an annual “Coffee Freshness Week” program was born. Based on the concept of freshness, a key differentiator for Peet’s hand-roasted product, the program successfully integrated marketing and PR activities to educate consumers and create a strong national awareness of Peet’s. The campaign deserves recognition based on its creativity, flawless execution, and most of all, the results that far superceded the client’s expectations for growing the brand beyond Peet’s retail presence.    


In early 2000, Peet’s was looking to grow and establish awareness of its online sales efforts, attract shoppers to its site and build credibility for its click-and-mortar business.  The company enjoys a solid reputation in specific regions throughout the country and was looking for a strategy that would gain exposure to a national audience of potential shoppers.

To accomplish these objectives, Red Whistle created an integrated marketing communications program called Coffee Freshness Week.  The campaign was designed to kick-start an ongoing educational effort about coffee freshness and Peet’s dedication to quality.


  • Position Peet’s as the leading specialty coffee roaster
  • Generate national awareness of Peet’s and coffee freshness
  • Drive traffic to Peets.com and to regional Peet’s retail locations
  • Educate the public on the importance of coffee freshness, how Peet’s ensures its coffee is the freshest and how coffee can best be kept fresh at home 


  • Leverage Peet’s long and solid history in the business
  • Differentiate Peet’s from other coffee companies by emphasizing the company’s “beans not beverages” model
  • Garner press coverage of Peet’s business, culture and freshness philosophy to attract new and existing customers to Peet’s for coffee education and purchases


Red Whistle established Coffee Freshness Week as a “new beginning” for educating the public about coffee.  Media outreach regarding the week-long event led to coverage on Peet’s and freshness prior to and after Coffee Freshness Week

Red Whistle recommended publicizing Coffee Freshness Week through the use of a VNR/ANR, as well as extensive regional and national media outreach efforts supporting both the Free Coffee promotion as well as the concept of coffee freshness.

Red Whistle recommended an online educational and viral event that drove new customers to Peets.com.  Promotion and event elements included:

  • Answering a series of questions to determine your “Bean IQ” to get entered into a sweepstakes to win free coffee for a year
  • Answering a question about the last time you purchased coffee to receive a free pound of Peet’s for participating
  • Entering your e-mail address to receive a serialized coupon good for a free coffee beverage at a local Peet’s store


Execution of this promotion required careful orchestration of many players toward a common goal. The players included the web design, marketing and executive teams from Peet’s, the Red Whistle team as well as the arms and legs of a few regional agencies from Portland, Boston and Chicago. Red Whistle conducted the activities from conception to completion. 

Six weeks out, Red Whistle worked on finalizing design concepts for collateral materials, built target media lists, and began drafting announcements. Four weeks out, Red Whistle worked to uncover websites that promote “Free on the Web” offerings, started drafting a script for the VNR/ANR, updated the press kit with new positioning and began initial contact with top-tier media targets. Two weeks out, the Red Whistle team contacted appropriate media with a Coffee Freshness media alert, worked on the production of the VNR/ANR, and prepared press materials for mailing. The week leading up to Coffee Freshness week included distributing the VNR/ANR and both national and regional media outreach. Once launched, the campaign proved to be viral and web site traffic numbers increased exponentially.  


Increase in online revenue of 33% 

Increase in site traffic of 45%

More than 50 hits including national and local media coverage including:

  • The Associated Press
  • Bloomberg Radio
  • Detroit Free Press
  • San Diego Union Tribune
  • The Oregonian
  • CBS Radio
  • The Columbus Dispatch
  • 5 O’Clock News, WNYW TV – Fox 5 New York
  • KFOG Radio – San Francisco