When Starbucks introduced its Via instant coffee last September, it went all out to promote it, even to the point of supposedly instructing baristas to do anything to get people into try it, including using guilt as a motivator. All the strong-arming was worth it, though, since Starbucks recently reported that Via has been a hit. It's not surprising, then, that Nestlé's Nescafé, a competitor in the instant-coffee segment, is attempting to strike back. Outdoor ads from McCann Erickson's Los Angeles office compare Nescafé to an unnamed competitor that just happens to have a green logo with the word "hype" in the middle of it. (Nescafé, for its part, is represented by a cup emblazoned with the word "Flavor.") This is just the latest salvo from the Nestlé brand. Last June, Nescafé greeted the looming introduction of Via with an ad that said: "Dear Starbucks, imitation is flattery. Charging 400% more, not so much."
—Posted by Todd Wasserman