This little machine has been the center of the biggest brew-ha-ha at KITV that I've seen for some time. Apparently Lion Coffee, a KITV client, asked if they could demo this fancy cappuccino machine in our lunch room. As soon as it arrived, word spread like wildfire! Everybody was hovering and cooing over the new machine.
It is actually quite sophisticated. It will make hot chocolate, hot chocolate with milk, cafe americano, cafe latte, cafe mocha, french vanilla latte, cappuccino, espresso, and more that I can't remember. I think everyone that first day had 3 cups! It was a smashing hit. The entire station was happy and buzzed! I doubt anyone slept that night.
Well that was the good news, free coffee for a few days. Now the bad news. The Sales Dept head didn't check with the GM if this would be OK. They just gave it the go ahead as a favor to their client. Turns out there is no way the station is paying for this! It is a $6000 coffee maker that needs constant maintenance and cleaning and doesn't have the ability to be coin operated. More so, the station has had a 15 year agreement with a vendor who provides and services our soda and snack machines, who also provides a humble coin operated coffee machine that just makes black coffee. From the GM's perspective, the worst thing that could happen was that we would want the new machine!
Well, that's exactly what did happen. Nearly 50 people, now hyperenergized by massive amounts of caffeine and sugar, don't want to go back to the simple cup-o-joe we have had for the last 15 years. Every corner of the station is filled with little pockets of wide eyed employees trying to figure out how we could get a machine for the station! Form a coffee hui, trade for air time, get our vendor to buy one, ... the ideas have been endless and some have been very creative. In fact there has probably been more creative energy put into how to keep this coffee machine than has gone into any of our newscasts!
Today was supposed to be the last day. We've already run out of the chocolate mix and the powdered milk mix supplied for the demo. Someone refilled the bean bin with their own beans to keep the coffee flowing. It is like prohibition is coming to KITV. Everyone is trying to get their last french vanilla cappuccino before they pull the plug on our dreams. I almost expect little home-made espresso and cappuccino machines to start a black market supply of the precious beverages. Some have likened it to throwing a hungry dog big red steak and then taking it away immediately after he smelled it.
We could learn something about marketing from those Lion Coffee guys.