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Saturday, September 10, 2016


Death Wish Coffee Crew with owner/founder Mike Brown (far left).

In a word: yes!

We’ve all heard the phrase be careful what you wish for.  In the case of Death Wish Coffee, the then little known roaster based in Upstate New York, made a big wish and lo and behold it came true.

They wished for fame and fortune.

Now, that the wish was granted how is real life treating this eclectic band of coffee roasters?

But first, a history lesson.

In early 2015, Intuit, an online personal accounting service, a division of QuickBooks ran a contest to promote its services.  The contest, which aired as a series of TV commercials, asked small businesses across the country to submit a video about their firm.  The public was asked to vote online and the most votes garnered from 15,000 entries was awarded a free 30-second TV commercial, which was aired during the 2016 Super Bowl.

Death Wish Coffee from Saratoga Springs, New York won the right to have an advertising agency create a 30-second commercial for the 11-employee  four-year-old operation.  Death Wish, which prides itself in making coffee that has double the amount of caffeine (400 mg) per cup than what most coffee houses serve, caught a break.  Not only did win a TV spot on the Super Bowl that cost $5 million for 30 seconds of air time, but Death Wish’s commercial was shown during the most watched Super Bowl in history (167 million).

Talk about a windfall.

The spot is a big time metaphor, which shows a Viking ship with its crew struggling on a stormy sea as the captain (in Viking garb) shouts keep strong orders to his men.  The 30 seconds end with the ship and storm being swallowed from a mug by the Viking captain (modern dress) in his kitchen.

So, how is Death Wish Coffee doing today?

“It changed the course of our business,” said Death Wish owner Mike Brown told the media in a masterpiece of understatement.  “It feels like everyone knows who we are” he said in a recent interviews with CNN and Fortune magazine.

Brown went on to describe how 2015’s annual sales were about $5 million but months after the Super Bowl spot ran his business climbed to $10 million plus.  Also, seconds after the spot ran during Super Bowl 50 he reported receiving 150,000 web hits and sales that Sunday was 25% higher than any Sunday in its history.

Life is good.  “People now recognize the brand!”  And, Brown says the impetus has encouraged him to launch a new product this year.

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