Folger's New Ad Campaign Features A Punk Classic

For decades Folgers was happy to be known as "the best part of waking up." Even while scores sipped lattes and cappuccinos at trendy cafes, Statista reported that Folgers remained the leading brand of ground coffee in the United States in 2020, outselling rivals like Starbucks, Maxwell House, and Dunkin' by huge margins, powered by Americans who wanted to get their java at home.

And while the sales data might have looked and sounded reassuring, there appears to be growing concern among Folgers' executives about the future of the brand. As Geoff Tanner, Chief Commercial and Marketing Officer at Folgers' parent company The J.M. Smucker Co, put it "We have heard from consumers, that 'Folgers is not for me." And in an interview with Billboard, Tanner further reveals that the company "found through consumer insights that they [Gen Z and millennials] often dismiss the brand without trying it because they think it's their grandma's coffee. That's why we didn't shy away from the misperceptions; instead we overtly addressed them head-on with this new campaign."

The rebrand is as far away from the "best part of waking up" jingle as it gets: punk band Joan Jett & the Blackhearts' "Bad Reputation" as a theme plays with Folgers' image as a fuddy-duddy label. Grammy-nominated musician Trombone Shorty and his bandmates were also roped in to give the ad a "New Orleans feel."

Folgers goes back to its roots with the campaign

The NOLA touch was important to both Folgers and Trombone Shorty. "A lot of people that live here probably didn't know that Folgers is here. To be able to represent in an ad as big as this, and with both of us being from New Orleans, it's just a wonderful collaboration with a lot of energy," the award-winning musician told Billboard.

For the musician, there was also the added joy of reuniting with old friends after they had been separated by COVID-19. "I hadn't seen some of my friends that are playing in the commercial's brass band during the pandemic. So when you see us approaching each other and smiling, there's no acting there. It was a very spiritual thing and the cameras just happened to be there to capture that moment," Trombone Shorty said.

Will Joan Jett and Trombone Shorty succeed in changing the public's perception of Folgers as "grandma's coffee?" Only time will tell. But for now, the iconic brand has indicated it wants to reintroduce itself to a new generation of coffee drinkers, hoping it will be a gamble that pays off and helps keep Folgers at number one.