Salt Spring Coffee envisions a bean-free future

Who: Salt Spring Coffee, with One Twenty Three West for strategy and creative.

What: “The Future Sucks,” a new campaign underscoring the Richmond, B.C.-based coffee company’s commitment to sustainability through practices such as regenerative farming. It’s One Twenty Three West’s first work for the brand since winning the business last year.

When & Where: The campaign launched on April 3, and is running across Western Canada as pre-roll, social video and sponsored posts.

Why: Climate change is having a pronounced impact on the world’s coffee production, with some scientists predicting that it could kill off the two main kinds of coffee, Arabica and Robusta, by 2050, while further jeopardizing 60% of the world’s 124 wild coffee plants. A certified B Corp, Salt Spring Coffee has been selling coffee that is both environmentally friendly and fair to farmers since its inception in 1996.

The brand wanted to generate some attention in the crowded coffee category, with a particular emphasis on its efforts around regenerative agriculture, said co-founder and CEO Mickey McLeod. “We’ve been in the trenches doing the work for a long time, and we just figured we needed to raise our head up and make a little bit more noise about what we’re doing.”

It’s an approach that aligns with what McLeod describes as a “very strong movement” around the idea of regeneration, whether it’s pertaining to natural resources, culture, people, etc.

How: The creative approach relies on a classic trope of a human frozen for decades, awakening in a new society. The 30-second lead spot features a man awakening from suspended animation in 2050 to find himself in a (nearly) utopian society: disease has been eradicated, taxes are no longer a thing, and the long-held promise of flying cars is finally a reality.

His happiness is short-lived, however, when he asks for a coffee and is informed that it’s no longer a thing. “Future sucks,” he proclaims, climbing back into the cryogenic chamber and closing the lid. It was one of four creative concepts presented by One Twenty Three West, and the blend of comedy and cultural critique made it the right fit, said McLeod. “This one seemed to be simpler and punchier.”

And we quote: “Coffee is one of life’s little pleasures. We wanted to show people there is still a chance to make positive change, and it can be as simple as which coffee you grab from the store shelf.” — Kate Roland, creative director, One Twenty Three West

Chris Powell