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A Café Should Know Better

April 1, 2010

I believe in words.  You may have noticed that there are very few pictures on the FUSSYlittleBLOG.  Some of that is that I don’t want to be bothered with making pictures look good.  The other part is a belief that throwing up beautiful pictures of food puts you on the slippery slope to creating food p0rn()graphy.

Still, I appreciate good food photography.  When I was working on the Taco Bell advertising business we hired the best in the business to make the food look tasty.  And it totally worked.  After seeing the action shot where the melting cheese begins to bubble along the edge of their new quesadilla, even I wanted to run out and try one.

Today not only do I have an image to share with you, but it is also an advertisement.  I noticed this banner on the Table Hopping blog over at  And the moment I saw it, I started to get very upset.  Mrs. Fussy on the other hand, chuckled at my agony, and insisted I was probably the only person who even noticed, much less cared.

The good people at The Daily Grind will either be very happy that someone actually noticed a banner ad, or they will be less happy that I am calling them to task.

Here is a screen grab of the ad that got me so worked up.

Daily Grind Banner

I would blow up the offending portion, but sadly the resolution is so low that it wouldn’t be worthwhile.  That is my fault, since I got the screen grab from my phone.  But I’ll give you a hint.  It has something to do with the two most disappointing espresso drinks I have ever seen.

Here’s the thing.  Espresso needs to have a layer of crema on the top.  That would be the creamy brown foam that forms on the top of a properly pulled shot.  You will notice the espresso pictured only has the barest trace of the stuff on the far edge of the cup.  I’d encourage you to read more about the pinnacle of espresso achievement from the good folks at

And it is not like I am expecting The Daily Grind to deliver on a perfect espresso experience.  Sadly, my expectations are getting lower by the month.  However, the picture they choose for their advertisements should at least look like a well-made drink.

Speaking of well-made drinks, that cappuccino doesn’t quite cut muster either.  I assume that the powdery mass dumped onto the middle of the foam is cinnamon.  Yes, there are some people who like a dusting of cinnamon on the top of their cappuccino.  And yes, I understand that without some kind of ornamentation a picture of a cappuccino might just look like white foam in a white cup.

But check out this beautifully crafted foam that could have been used instead.

My expectations are not that The Daily Grind should be a top tier espresso station or a world class café.  For all I know the shot of the two drinks may have been stock photography.  All I am suggesting is that whoever made this advertisement wouldn’t know a good espresso or cappuccino from the swill pumped out Dunkin’ Donuts.

To some of you, this may be news.  To somebody who owns or manages a café, this should be ingrained in their being.

Advertisements do not just get made willy nilly.  People spend at least a modest amount of time thinking about them.  And then other people have to approve them, sometimes at multiple steps along the way.

As far as I am concerned this is a train wreck.

Granted, having spent over ten years in the business, I take advertising a bit more seriously than the average person.  I also may get a little bit more worked up about good espresso than most people as well.  So I expect that this is a bigger deal to me than to most of The Daily Grind’s potential and current customers.

But still I want to know who approved this.  Or are you with Mrs. Fussy on this?  Do you think I am just overreacting?  Again?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. wendalicious permalink
    April 1, 2010 10:18 am

    Perhaps you’re overreacting a *bit*, but I do feel your pain.

    I recently saw a Frank Adams Jewelers advertisement on a bus – A GIANT MOBILE BILLBOARD – that had the following title on it:

    Jockeying for Postion

    You would think that FAJ (being the high-end jewelers that they are) could afford to hire an ad agency that could spell. Or that SOMEONE would have noticed. Or that it would be taken down (which it wasn’t – I’ve seen it many times over the past few months).

  2. Ellen Whitby permalink
    April 2, 2010 1:09 am

    No, Fussy, you’re right on target. Advertising is an investment one makes in telling people why their product/service/business is worth the consumer’s time/money over the competition. Your ad is supposed to say “this is the best we can do.’

    Your primary complaint of the local establishments has been that they aspire to mediocrity and not higher. Maybe this attitude applies to advertising as well. Maybe that’s the most we can expect. That you have a background in the business doesn’t mean your standards are higher or that you are expecting too much, only that you know what you are talking about. Maybe it means they should hire you as a consultant….

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