Keurig makes a good brewer, and of course, they invented the K-Cup, the first single-serve, self-contained coffee pod.
But success has apparently twisted their perception of appreciation and humility. Keurig thinks that their customers need to be protected from the evils of using any coffee, tea or hot cocoa for which the maker did not pay licensing fees for the privilege of compatibility. To restrict the use of equipment owned by their customers, they have added slick spyware to peek on their customers after they buy a machine!
Imagine a car that tests each tank of gasoline--not for quality or compatibility, but for legal compliance with a licensing authority. Or how about a Samsung TV that blocks any program that fails to include a broadcast license from Samsung? That's what Keurig has done. But it is *HOW* they do it that is really troubling...
Keurig has placed a spy camera INSIDE the brewer (no kidding!). Using DRM technology (Digital Rights Management), it analyzes special inks on the K-Cups & Vue pods to prevent owners from using their coffee of choice, unlicensed pods, and even Keurig's own K-Cups (They are still within expiration!) In fact, you can no longer use the My-K-cup adapter that Keurig continues to sell for owners of their legacy brewers. This is an astonishing marketing blunder. Was anyone over 25 was in the room when CEO Brian Kelley decided to add a spy camera into a coffee maker?! Somehow, he missed the lesson of DRM with iTunes, Sony, and DVDs. It shows profound contempt for the customer, rather than respect and appreciation...
When I inserted my Green Mountain K-Cups into this brewer, a tiny TV screen informed me: "Oops! That coffee isn't compatible with our incredibly high standards! We want you to enjoy the very best experience possible. Besides, you probably wouldn't enjoy the flavor of coffee from any vendor that refuses to pay us for the privilege of compatibility."
Seriously! It says something just like that. At least, to anyone who can read between the lines. To view the actual message, and my further comments, check out the full review in the Blog below. (search for Keurig).
Green Mountain Coffee has a limited time to recover from the Keurig 2.0 fiasco. Here, then, is my humble marketing advice:
1. Change the heartless restriction into an on-screen sales pitch. Be a good guy!
2. Accept all the existing K-Cups that your consumers already own. I have dozens.
3. Offer an adapter that allows owners of your new brewers the same privilege of occasionally scooping in the grounds of their favorite store-bought coffee.
And for G-d's sake, Keurig, stop spying on your customers! With a downward-facing camera mounted 10 inches above my kitchen counter, I wonder if your next software update will my midnight snack attack or activate a microphone. Please Keurig: Get off our backs and respect your customers!
Amazon limits the length of these reviews. I expand on this analysis and review on my Blog. I also imagine a hypothetical letter from Green Mountain CEO to his shareholders. It could give smile. If only it were a joke.