From CNN. Story by Jenni Marsh.
Dayne Levinrad, the barista behind the Coffee In a Cone craze sweeping South Africa, has garnered nearly 1 million likes with the #coffeeinacone hashtag on the picture-sharing social media site Instagram.
The idea is simple — serve coffee in an ice cream cone lined with chocolate — but Levinrad says the science behind his creation is not.
When Johannesburg-born Levinrad returned to his home city after four years working as a coffee consultant in Brazil, Australia and Los Angeles, he wanted to do something different.
“Johannesburg had a competitive coffee sector, but it wasn’t third-wave, specific-sector coffee yet,” he says. “From my research in Australia, I knew that’s the way the market was heading.”
People love ice cream, coffee and chocolate, says the former digital marketing executive, so he decided to serve all three at once.
Simply pouring coffee into a chocolate-lined wafer cone didn’t work — “the wafer was too thin.”
“We bought our own machine and started rolling our own wafer cones, using different flours, but the chocolate still melted.
“We couldn’t have any leakage.”
In the end, Levinrad used four different types of chocolate compounds to coat the cone, each hardened by varying percentages of cacao content.
“Now we’ve got the whole thing under patent,” he says, “it’s a very arduous process.”
Coffee drinkers have 10 minutes to drink the coffee before the four layers melt.
Coffee In a Cone owes it success to Levinrad understanding social media.
First, he created the #coffeeinacone hashtag.
“We used the cone as a way to become an Instagrammable product. When people come in they take a selfie and tag #coffeeinacone,” he says.
Levinrad also employed someone to man a WhatsApp line dedicated to taking orders for take outs and deliveries of the product.
His marketing strategy caught the eye of Aviv Weil, of Creative Shop Facebook, Africa — who had spotted the creation on social media.
“This was the most innovative coffee idea I had seen in years,” Weil tells CNN. He reached out to Levinrad and offered assistance through Creative Shop — Facebook’s program for helping small businesses with “everything from brand strategy to creative concepts, targeting insights.”
Weil guided Levinrad in how to build a creative marketing and advertising ecosystem using the Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger platforms, leveraging each in a unique way.
“We then used a heatmap trending application to monitor where the tag has traveled to,” Levinrad says. “It’s gone all over the world.”
Read more at CNN.