Maxwell House and the Art of Great Business


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Maxwell House brew some good

Fact – 87% of consumers would switch brands to deal with companies associated with good causes. 87%.

That’s a whole lot of customers to lose if your business isn’t one that’s involved in good causes, either locally or nationally/internationally. Of course, making sure you support causes the right way is key too – no-one likes a bandwagon jumper, especially when it comes to helping people.

It’s something that coffee company Maxwell House clearly understands with their Brew Some Good initiative.

Waking Up the Senses

It’s not a new initiative, by any means. The Brew Some Good campaign has been around for about 2-3 years but, surprisingly, a lot of people still haven’t heard of it.

What the campaign aims to achieve is highlighting people that are doing good in the community, as well as share visions of optimism. Everyone knows about coffee and its ability to wake up your senses when you need a re-energizing hit; Maxwell House wants to highlight people that wake up your senses, by the good work that they do every day.

They do this by inviting nominations for people and organizations doing good in your community. Maxwell House then donates $10,000 to that person or organization, to use for their favourite cause.

It’s a great way of rewarding the amazing people that just go about their everyday work doing good without asking for anything in return, while involving the local community with a brand (in this case, Maxwell House).

Why It Works

There’s nothing flashy about the campaign. There’s no-one from Maxwell House screaming, “Look at how great we are for doing this.” They just view the nominations, encourage you to nominate your favourite causes, and help. Simple.

They also make sure that it’s clear how the help is being used. They have a bunch of videos on their micro-site that shows how a year’s ad campaign budget ($200,000) has helped 21 worthy causes. They even start their TV ads with the words, “Instead of watching a Maxwell House coffee ad, how about we all take an optimism break?”.

And then there’s the human angle.

As part of the campaign, Maxwell House uses videos of real people doing amazing things every day, like the one at the end of this post featuring father and son Dick and Rick Hoyt. It’s a touching story of overcoming adversity and the love a father has for his son.

There’s no Hollywood budget and special effects overkill – just a simple message with simple images. But it’s one that’s more emotional than most Hollywood efforts at emotion.

The Art of Great Business

A lot of businesses say they have (or aim to have) corporate responsibility, but don’t back up the goal with action. Or they make a token gesture to save on year-end tax and then nothing else.

Maxwell House shows that you can have an ongoing initiative, and one that seems so natural and obvious you wonder why others don’t run the same way.

And for that, I’d happily change my drinking habits. Which, as a coffee bean man, says a lot.

How about you – would you be more likely to support a brand that takes an approach like Maxwell House? What other companies are doing great things? Let’s highlight them.


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