Coffee and College: Why Coffee Companies Are Marketing on Campus

With midterms approaching, many students can be found studying on campus. Whether you’re trying to stay awake for that early morning class or cramming at a late night study session, chances are you’re drinking some kind of coffee or caffeinated beverage from a campus café. UNCW has two Starbucks, a Dunkin’ Donuts, a Port City Java, and various dining options on campus that sell coffee. Why are there so many places to purchase coffee on campus and why are coffee companies marketing to college students?


Coffee is the number one item that students are willing to purchase on campus. Coffee sales account for around 20% of on campus food sales and the average college student spends around $100 a month on coffee. It makes sense that large companies would want to take up space on college campuses. Marketers have also found that not only do students go to coffee shops when they need to study but having coffee shops is another way that many students socialize. When thinking of the cafes on campus, this is also a way to create another space for students to study. Not only is coffee important for the students, but teachers need some energy too!

Here are some ways that companies try to market to students:

1. A lot of companies are finding new accessories to sell to students. One of the more popular items are freakers. Freakers are a one size fits all bottle insulator. They are customizable and made in the US. In the past couple of years, they have become a popular item for college students. More recently, they have been sold by Port City Java. You can find these beautiful bottle sweaters (as I like to call them) at a PCJ near you.

2. One of the biggest coffee competitors, Starbucks, is trying to find new ways to market towards college students. In the past couple of years, Starbucks has started to “roll out” coffee trucks on campus. This provides a more convenient way to reach students on campus…literally.


3. A couple years ago Dunkin’ Donuts changed the game, they gave us iced coffee drink sleeves. Iced coffee is a hot commodity with college students so this is the perfect accessory for walking around campus. Now you can enjoy your iced coffee in any weather!


So what’s your poison? Dunkin’, Port City Java, or Starbucks? Drink responsibly.

(images courtesy of and

-Sam Ruark