UBC Undergraduate Research

Coffee and Identity : Marketing to a University Campus Arefzadeh, Sarina; Tabakman, Melanie; Zwang, Maya; Alexander, Brittany; Mattlar, Aleksi


Branding plays a large role in the consumers they draw in as well as the audience to which they market (Bookman, 2013). Our research took this concept and extended it to the UBC Brand of Fair Trade Coffee with the intention of marketing Fair Trade successfully to UBC students. Our research questions whether coffee is rooted in identity, and whether it is a factor that influences UBC students’ desire to purchase fair trade coffee. In our study, we surveyed 102 UBC students who self-identified as coffee drinkers. In our control condition, participants chose between sleeves with a Starbucks logo, a Tim Hortons logo, or the current UBC Fair Trade logo. In the experimental condition, participants were asked to choose between the sleeves with a Starbucks logo, a Tim Hortons logo, and a newly designed Fair Trade coffee sleeve with an original ‘UBC Thunderbirds’ logo. We associated the students’ sense of identity with the Thunderbird logo and hypothesized that this fair trade coffee brand would increase likelihood that students should choose fair trade coffee. After reviewing the results, our hypothesis was disconfirmed, as people were less likely to choose the UBC Thunderbirds sleeve in comparison to the control condition. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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