Marketing: do more
than just inform

Imagine the Queen of the Andals and the First Men, drinking Starbucks coffee, in the Game of Thrones. That is what happened when while shooting one of the scenes of the film, a coffee mug was mistakenly placed on a table and it got recorded in the film. Because of its shape and style, most people thought it was a Starbucks coffee mug. And that got Starbucks a huge buzz on Twitter. A placement that would have costed Starbucks at least a million dollars came as free branding.

A few seconds of exposure did wonder for Starbucks, with a simple thing like a paper cup!


Imagine what can it do for you when the magic of marketing is added to your paper cup?

Marketing is not just about creating awareness through information. But it is about building a brand and has many other benefits. Coffee cup advertising is one niche form of high impact brand promotion. Every time your consumer takes a sip, there is exposure. And this exposure can last up to 20 minutes. It is the most economical form of advertising and with only a few dollars a week, you can push your marketing messages to your consumers for a year.

Gulf News made an interesting use of coffee cup advertising by adding a ‘headline news’ sleeve to the cups from Tim Hortons, a fast food restaurant in UAE. Fresh news was added to fresh coffee and headlines were printed every hour with a QR Code and a short URL to direct drinkers to the website of Gulf News. This single campaign won 2400 followers on Twitter and the website traffic increased by 37 per cent in just two weeks. There were 1,440 headline Tweets that were printed on over 840,000 cups. This was a perfect example of how physical can be mixed with digital marketing to create a fully immersive experience.

Sephora made a creative use of paper cup advertising by printing a lipstick mark near the rim on to 50,000 paper cups. These paper cups were distributed to all coffee vendors in Manhattan. For a few seconds, the consumer could be surprised and the next moment there was an applause. People were impressed by the creative use of marketing and they loved the twist. The creative use of paper advertising created great engagement for the brand with least investments made.

You can do a lot more than just inform your target market about your brand, product, service or offers.

Here are a few things you might want to try –

  • Use of a beautiful, colorful or creative image can create an awe in the user’s mind and an experience that is rarely forgotten. As the image on the cup is remembered, so is your brand.

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  • Integrate social media marketing with paper cup advertising by giving consumers a link or a QR code that they can access to explore your pages instantly.


  • Print your big offers on the paper cup with numbers printed big to acts as anchors grabbing attention for fast conversion.

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  • You can play with the shape and design of the paper cup to give your consumers the feel of your brand or product to create a desire in them.

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  • Use additional accessories like sleeves, wraps, or holders to create a customization that makes you stand out, by meeting additional functional needs of your consumer, so they know that you care.

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