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The Age of Innocence is Over

Costa rica san gerardo rivas chirripo coffee ripe beans

I read a fantastic article by Nick Parker last week about lazy brands stealing ideas. It was so spot on identifying how, over the past decade or so, bigger companies have jumped onto the personal, quirky, irreverent tone of Innocent, the drinks company.

That Barclays Bank started to label their ATMs as ‘Hole in the Wall’ was probably the nadir of the movement. What on earth could Barclays claim in their DNA which could be described as disruptive or quirky?!

But Nick’s main point is that the Innocent age is gone because it’s being replaced by the Artisan Age. And how true this is. Everything is packaged up as being hand crafted and lovingly made by a man with a beard. He points out what may be the early depth being plumbed by Costa Coffee:

“Our Baristas don’t just make coffee, they hand-craft it”

I mean come off it. Costa Coffee is many things to many people but artisan coffee house isn’t one of them.

And the reason I care? Well, we’ve been hand-making our holidays for years now. The detail with which we construct our trips is genuinely impressive, it’s not some marketing construct but rather it is who we are and what drives us. It’s why we have always stuck to being highly specialised, even when the market was headed rapidly in the direction of diversification. As Dan, our man in the know said, I think paraphrasing his own advertising guru, ‘Pick who you are and be the hell out of it.’ We figured it was OK to be square, as long as we were doing something we love.

Now we find ourselves ‘on trend’ by standing stock still. Of course, it’s none of our business what other companies are doing or saying. I am personally delighted with the idea that people are valuing expertise and skills which looked to be dying a death just a few short years ago.

What I do find annoying is when companies parachute in pretending to be something they clearly aren’t. We know that Costa Coffee is the UK’s largest coffee shop chain, we see you everywhere and we know that you aren’t out back needing out over the latest bean grinding technology or worrying about whether to go Ethiopian or Nicaraguan this week. We know that Barclays is a global banking corporation not a cuddly piggy bank on the street corner. We know because we aren’t stupid.

Just be who you are and don’t pretend to be anything else. We’ll see through you.

So go graze your own pastures and leave craftspeople to do the stuff they love. Like nerding out over coffee, or beer, or furniture, or holidays.

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The Pothole is Pura Aventura's popular monthly email. We share what we love, what interests us and what we find challenging. And we don't Photoshop out the bits everyone else does. We like to think our considered opinions provide food for thought, and will sometimes put a smile on your face. They've even been known to make people cry. You can click here to subscribe and, naturally, unsubscribe at any time.

The Pothole is Pura Aventura's popular monthly email. We share what we love, what interests us and what we find challenging. And we don't Photoshop out the bits everyone else does. We like to think our considered opinions provide food for thought, and will sometimes put a smile on your face. They've even been known to make people cry. You can click here to subscribe and, naturally, unsubscribe at any time.

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