©2019 by Curtis Kingrea.

Café Bustelo

The Objective

Choose a problem, then a brand that could solve that problem, and write a brief for it.


The Category

We all know, without really having to check (though we did), that the coffee category is doing really well. However, the category is dominated and saturated by heavy hitters like Folgers, Dunkin, Starbucks, and Maxwell. So for Café Bustelo the problem, or opportunity, is to capture more market share. All coffee companies talk about coffee, but Café Bustelo can’t. This isn’t because their coffee is bad; it’s unfamiliar, and consumers will choose a brand they know over one they don’t any day. Talking about their coffee won’t be enough to gain on the category leaders. They will need to tailor their messaging in a way that distinguishes them from their competition and makes them unique in the eyes of consumers.

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The Research

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Immigrant Coffee

Gregorio Menendez Bustelo traveled from his native country of Spain to Cuba as a young man, and eventually moved to the U.S. in 1917. He founded Café Bustelo coffee company in NYC in 1928.

American perceptions on immigration

Our research showed that: 70% of Americans agree that undocumented immigrants are a threat to American culture, 37% of Americans feel that legal immigrants are making American society worse, and 45% of Americans thought the number of legal immigrants should be reduced.

What constitutes "American?"

Much of what is considered to be American staples (such as Levi jeans and hot dogs) were brought to America by immigrants. Actually, the most “American” things, are in fact, not really American at all.



Immigration is not a threat to American culture, it IS American culture.

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The Strategy

Café Bustelo is: 

The MOST American coffee.

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The Opportunity

Café Bustelo has the opportunity to redefine what it means to be American. So what will it mean to be American going forward? To be an American is to be part of a diverse culture of passionate, brave, and driven people.


The Team

Joe Castagna (Strategist)
Chorong Kim (Strategist)
Curtis Kingrea (Strategist)
Caroline Moyer-Kardos (Strategist)