The Real Cuban Coffee Deal

Hipsters, like many others in America today, are searching for authentic experiences. Sometimes, a classic brand can offer these experiences, but it’s almost always the hipsters that come to the brand, not the other way around.
According to an article in today’s Sunday Styles section, Café Bustelo, a Cuban coffee company founded in the Bronx in 1928, is seeking new adherents and finding them at Sundance, Fashion Week and Coachella.

A decadent party at a prestigious rock festival is hardly what comes to mind when you think of Café Bustelo, whose plain yellow and red can has been a bodega standby for eight decades. Potent, cheap and with an aura of both urban exotica and blue-collar utility, it’s long been an item on the bohemian shopping list, even making it into the lyrics to “Rent” (“Bustelo, Marlboro, banana by the bunch”).

The above paragraph contradicts itself, but I like the description of the product and how it’s positioned. The fact that it’s cheap–just over two bucks for a 6 oz. packet–is a big plus today. Even when the economy isn’t hurling, people love a bargain.
But Bustelo unlike PBR, (which the brand is compared to in the Times article) is also innovating in product development. BusteloCool, “a deliciously strong cafe con leche in an easy, hassle-free can,” is a big part of the company’s push to find new fans.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.