Minneapolis-based Caribou Coffee Company has launched its Real Inspiration Blend, a coffee created in collaboration with its 2,900 Pinterest followers, and it is celebrating the debut with a living Pinterest board at the Mall of America in nearby Bloomington, Minnesota.
Last year, Caribou says it asked its Pinterest fans to share what inspires them, and its roastmasters used the resulting images and captions to create a blended coffee "with the sole purpose of inspiring dreamers to become doers."
According to Michele Vig, vice president of marketing for Caribou, the brand decided to bring fans in on the creation of a coffee in the fall of 2012. Caribou honed in on Pinterest because "we wanted fans to inspire our roastmasters and that's what Pinterest does -- they post pictures and we see what fans want represented in the coffee," she says.
The #CaribouInspires board has about 300 pins. Vig says fan-submitted images include "pictures of the tropics and sweet chocolate and mellow pictures in a pool, chilling."
"A lot were mellow and complex," she adds.
The brand's roastmasters used those images to create a coffee Caribou describes as "a sweet and thought-provoking light roast, created to help fans pause and catch a moment of inspiration."
It is now available in grocery stores and retail locations in the Midwest, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, North Carolina, and Denver, Vig says.
To celebrate the new blend, Caribou has taken over the Rotunda in the Mall of America and created "an awe-inspiring, 64-foot-tall living Pinterest board" on display through February 13.
According to Caribou, consumers who visit the living Pinterest board will have the opportunity to "immerse themselves in five interactive 'pins,'" including an inspiration stage to "motivate fans to pursue their passions" through demonstrations and performances by other lifestyle brands located in the mall like yoga and hand treatments; a miniature Caribou Coffee that serves Caribou's new blend; a chalkboard that invites guests to share what inspires them most; and a photo booth that features life-size props "where fans can capture the moment and share it with their social followers."
Vig says the living Pinterest board is a five-story vinyl board hanging from floor to ceiling with two interactive TVs in the middle that will display consumer posts to Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #CaribouInspires.
"It's not just a thing you look at -- it's a display you can interact with," Vig says.
Vig says the brand chose the Mall of America because they are both Minnesota-based companies and Caribou has five stores within the mall.
"We knew we wanted to launch the coffee in a really special way...and the Mall of America is the best place to do something like a larger-than-life Pinterest board because they are larger than life," she says.
Fans are once again encouraged to share their photos from the living Pinterest board as well as other inspirational images on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #CaribouInspires.
Caribou has 2,900 followers on Pinterest, as well as 57,000 followers on Twitter and 448,000 likes on Facebook.
Vig also notes the brand has created a board that shows the creation of the coffee.
"This is the first time Caribou has ever created a coffee like this," Vig says. "The roastmasters typically have the vision...this was the first time for them, too. The guys who create the coffee are not on Pinterest. When we came to them with the idea, they were apprehensive, but once they saw the visuals and saw fans talk them through the pictures, they were really inspired."
Founded in 1992, Caribou says based on the number of coffeehouses, it is the second-largest company-operated premium coffeehouse operator in the United States.
Caribou includes 306 company-owned stores in the U.S. and 267 franchise locations, the majority of which are overseas, Vig says.
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Lisa Lacy is senior staff writer at ClickZ. In addition to ClickZ, her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Luxury Spot, LearnVest, MarthaStewart.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, amNewYork, and The Wall Street Journal. She's a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism.
March 19, 2014