by Kevin Coupe

Go figure. There are no nuts in coffee. But convincing some folks of that has turned into a marketing problem for one iconic coffee brand.

The story is in this morning’s New York Times, and looks at Chock full o’Nuts coffee, well known in New York but beyond the Hudson River, not so much.

When “the quintessentially recognizable can crossed the Mississippi River in a push to go national, concerns arose about one word on the label that might not play well in Omaha or Oklahoma City — nuts.” The issue never came up in focus groups, but coffee drinkers with nut allergies figured they couldn’t drink it.

According to the Times, “To those whose day cannot start without a cup, saying that ‘Chock full o’Nuts’ has no nuts sounds as contradictory as movie titles like ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ and ‘True Lies.’ Do people really think that Chock full o’Nuts cans are chock-full of nuts?

“Apparently so. Convincing consumers that there are no nuts in Chock full o’Nuts is, well, a tough marketing nut to crack.”

The first step - designing the familiar can so now there now is a giant disclaimer - “No Nuts.”

It is an Eye-Opening example of exactly how important it is for companies to be transparent, even about issues that marketers think are well-known of self-evident.

Just because you know it doesn’t mean the shopper does.