Here's one good way to get a celebrity pitchman for your ads: help turn his local passion project into a national brand.
Keurig Green Mountain, the single-serve coffee company, is launching a new line of Laughing Man coffee pods, filled with ground java from Hugh Jackman's Laughing Man coffee company.
Inspired by a visit to Africa, Jackman launched the business "to bring distinctive products to market while supporting individual producers and the growth of local communities," according to its Facebook page. The company has pledged to donate 100 percent of its profits toward improving communities in the developing world.
Havas Worldwide, Keurig's agency of record, created digital banner and preroll ads to announce the partnership.
"Before we even had to ask, they said Hugh Jackman was on board," said Tim Maleeny, chief strategy officer at Havas, New York.
The cheerful and optimistic spots feature Jackman enjoying a coffee and telling the brand's origin story. He's standing in front of a scrolling line-art drawing that, in the 60-second spot, is revealed to be a backdrop placed in front of the Laughing Man Café, in New York's Tribeca district.
"I traveled 4,800 miles to find a perfect cup of coffee," the actor says in one of the spots. "You only have to walk to your kitchen."
Laughing Man sells fair-trade coffee from independent farmers in Ethiopia. Jackman and his wife, on an outreach trip to Ethiopia, met a coffee farmer named Dukale whose delicious coffee and cheerful disposition inspired the coffee shop, Jackman explains. The actor contributes the profits to the Laughing Man Foundation, which supports education programs and community development in impoverished parts of the world.
"This is really a marriage of three brands," said Laure Ayel, who manages the account for Havas. "It's Hugh Jackman himself, Keurig and a virtually unknown brand in Laughing Man."
This kind of goodwill effort is exactly what Keurig needs this year, as it has faced repeated and vocal criticism over its shifting stance on refillable cannisters and the environmental impact of its disposable K-cups.
The Havas work focuses less on Keurig than on Jackman's personal brand to tell the Laughing Man story. "We wanted to keep it humble, human, true and real," Ayel said.
Keurig's Laughing Man pods are, for now, only available online. They're expected to reach retail stores in the fall, at which point a larger media buy is planned.