Cafe Bustelo, Please Respect The Artist
I will preface this blog by saying I am not a big coffee drinker but I have always loved the Bustelo brand.
Not because of it’s taste, but because of it’s presence in my life for special milestones. Weddings, birthday parties, parrandas… my family’s love for Bustelo guaranteed them real estate on the menu for every special occasion as present as rice & beans.
So naturally, when my friend Jennifer told me that the Bustelo pop up shop was coming to my neighborhood, just blocks away from my Williamsburg office, I GOT HYPE. I decided that I would surround myself with energetic music, pop art, get to know some neighbors and reconnect with that smell that takes me back to all the happy (and some sad) moments of my life where this cafecito stapled it’s presence in our life.
Being an (over)active participant in social media, I invited all my friends to come down for 3:05 Cafecito Time during the 5 day event, I hosted impromptu meetups there with people all over NYC and even a few out of towners.
You see, I was familiar with 3:05 Cafecito Time since 2013… I was attending a Toyota influencer lunch at Hispanicize! with my colleague and friend JennyLee Molina (owner of JLPR) who was the guest of honor. At this event, she shared with the group that just days before, the Mayor of Miami proclaimed 3:05 Miami’s new official cafecito break based on her social media campaign that went viral. This was the first time as far as I know, that Miami has ever recognized or proclaimed a social media campaign in this way. I was too proud of her.
Fast forward to 2016… and I am sitting in the Bustelo Pop Up, the energy intensifies at exactly 3:05 and I start creating content and I tag JennyLee in the post, letting her know that three years later, I am celebrating 3:05 Cafecito Time in NYC (the birthplace of Bustelo). After a brief exchange, it became clear that Jenny Lee was not involved in this activation and to add insult to injury, Cafe Bustelo, owned by The J.M. Smucker Company (NYSE: SJM) actually appropriated the entire campaign that JennyLee created with no credit to her. Jenny who has trademarked and monetized this campaign only requested that they credit her (and I assume to open doors to collaboration) and was quickly shut down by their legal team. You can get the full scoop on this Miami Herald article.
I want to first say that I was not hired as an influencer for this campaign, I naturally gravitated to it because of my fascination with the Bustelo brand’s history in NYC and for it’s presence in my life. I also want to let everyone know that as a creator in both the arts and social media interchangeably, I am disappointed in The J.M. Smucker Company’s (NYSE: SJM) decision to not properly credit JennyLee for her intellectual property.
Now I have seen different positions online during the #BoycottBustelo conversation online, and the court of law will ultimately decide where that falls, but The J.M. Smucker Company (NYSE: SJM), as an organization that frequently cultivates brand awareness using artists at their activations this is perceived by many to be appropriation and a major slap in the face to the creative community, Cafe Bustelo has stated thru their actions that they do not respect artists and their intellectual property.
I am joining the chorus of creatives across the country using the #BoycottBustelo to ask Cafe Bustelo to please respect artists, creatives and their intellectual property… and do the right thing.
So by all means, if you will celebrate Cafecito Time, we ask that you do it with another brand like these amazing roasts from Puerto Rico.