The Shark/Ninja Strategy that Stirred Up the Home Coffeemaker Category

Shark/Ninja is a company with plenty of experience when it comes to entering, and then quickly dominating, a crowded market category. Witness the extraordinary success of their Shark Rotator and Shark Rocket vacuums, which speedily displaced Dyson as sales leaders. In the kitchen appliance category, the Nutri Ninja® blender burst on the scene and quickly snagged market share from category leaders like Cuisinart and Magic Bullet.

But when it came time to introduce their new “Ninja Coffee Bar™,” they knew they’d need to brew up a particularly bold launch strategy. Here’s the way they served up a winning campaign.

The Ninja Coffee Bar Launch Strategy

  1. Create a Category, and Own It. The Ninja Coffee Bar is a multi-faceted machine that combines the flavorful brewing of a sophisticated drip brewer with the convenience of variable serving size (single serve, travel mug, and carafe), AND the ability to control coffee concentration with push-button ease. It can deliver rich, full-flavored iced coffee that doesn’t taste diluted; and even an espresso-like concentration to make specialty and frozen blended drinks like you get at a coffeehouse.

So, Shark/Ninja and Script to Screen leveraged this impressive versatility and created a new category: “The In-Home Coffee Bar.” As the tagline says, “It’s like having your own coffeehouse on your countertop.”

When you can create a new category, you own that category. It’s an effective way to immediately separate yourself from the crowd. You’re not a “me, too” newcomer; you’re an innovator with something truly fresh and unique to offer.

  1. Align with a Show Stopper. To instantly place the Ninja Coffee Bar on a higher plane than the well-known competition, Shark/Ninja brought in film and TV star Sofia Vergara as a celebrity “co-developer.” Aside from her eye-catching appeal and comedic flair, the Colombian beauty is well-known for her strong opinions about how coffee should taste. This made for a powerful association and instantly stamped the brand as something special indeed.
  2. Generate Recognition. Facing category mainstays like Keurig, Cuisinart, Mr. Coffee and more, Shark/Ninja needed a way to quickly build the Ninja Coffee Bar name to a level of instant household recognition. They did it the way they’d accomplished that same goal with their vacuums and blenders: with a comprehensive, well-orchestrated campaign that included TV, print, in-store POS, and digital, all coordinated to deliver a unified message.
  3. Tell the Full Story. The Ninja Coffee Bar is so feature-rich, so technically sophisticated, and offers so many benefits, Shark/Ninja knew that long-form Performance Marketing television was the only way they could tell a complete product story. The half-hour format allows time to educate the consumer about the shortcomings of existing coffeemakers; dramatically demonstrate the superiority of the Ninja Coffee Bar’s patented brewing system; and walk through each of the machine’s unique features and capabilities. Short-form (:30, :60, and :120) TV spots are used to reinforce the longform show’s message, and build brand familiarity. Here’s a sample clip.
  4. Track Performance. In any advertising campaign, it’s critical to have a clear understanding of how efficiently your dollars are working. TV Performance Response Marketing offers intensively detailed tracking on a per-airing basis. That’s critical information that Shark/Ninja has used to strategically and cost-effectively ramp its campaign.


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