A dis-loyalty card & the world’s best coffee

by Kristofer Mencák on April 18, 2010

I had heard about it and had pretty high expectations. Would Prufrock Coffee in Shoreditch in London deliver? It wasn’t the typical combination; a clothes and accessories store, combined with a coffee shop featuring two world class baristas. The coffee was great – I had a cappuccino. But, it’s hard to judge whether it was the best in the world, even though the 2009 UK and World Champion Barista, Gwilym Davies made it.

However, something that intrigued me was that they had a “dis-loyalty card“. That is not very common. Usually, businesses try to keep customers to themselves, viewing others offering the same product or service as bitter enemies. So, what’s the deal then? Well, this is what the card says: “Complete this tour of East London’s emerging coffee scene to claim a free coffee from the World Barista Champion Gwilym Davies @ Prufrock.”


I have been thinking a bit about the logic with this card, and the obvious is that what Prufrock gains is a return visit. But, they also potentially lose out on eight other visits?! It is not obvious that it is to their advantage. So, what else? Well, they are of course growing the pie instead of trying to get a bigger slice of a smaller pie. Also, it is a sign of greatness to dare refer customers to competitors.

And, it seems this disloyalty card, has gotten quite some attention in around the net. Steve Sack for example, gives us one of the better analyses and I agree completely:

“Great idea and a simple twist on a trusted marketing standard. Actually encourage your customers to experiment, to sample the competitor, to explore the industry landscape – and trust them to form their own educated opinion. Raise the bar for quality, show implicit confidence in your product, and display transparency. ‘My product is so good that I trust you will remain loyal even after having sampled the competition.’ And best of all, the idea is being discussed, blogged, tweeted and debated – which is all good for business.”

Just as Marty Neumeier writes in Zag: “When others zig, zag”. It no doubt creates word of mouth, and the idea has already spread to Seattle and Toronto.

Here are some links to what others have written.

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Steve Sack April 26, 2010 at 7:01 pm

Thanks for connecting the dots around the globe – there are no boundaries to clever, transparent marketing ideas.

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You’re welcome! My thanks to you!

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