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'Orange is the new green'

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Posted: Tuesday, March 25, 2008 9:00 pm

"Who knew the next weapon against global warming would be a steaming hot cup of coffee?"

That's the claim by Thomas Hammer Coffee Roasters, famous for its electric orange hue dotting the eastern side of Washington and parts of Idaho.

The company prides itself on providing quality coffee while continuing to find ways to produce environmentally conscious products. With corporate goals of sustainability and innovation, the Thomas Hammer Coffee Roasters is introducing the Hammer EcoCup, which was promoted all over campus as part of the Thomas Hammer EcoWeek.

This production was created by Martello Design, a student-run marketing firm in the business school that has been working since January to come up with a creative spin on delivering Hammer's news.

The EcoCup is made from fully renewable resources. Its moisture barrier is corn-based, not petro-based as other companies' products are. The corn-based liner enables the cups to decompose in 45 days, meaning the EcoCup will create less waste than petro-chemical based cups. Posters all over Thomas Hammer locations highlight features of the EcoCup.

"The EcoCup is made from fully renewable resources and requires less energy to produce. It also is biodegradable in municipal and commercial composting systems and certified by the Biodegradable Products Institute," posters read.

Thomas Hammer focuses on offering the best environmentally friendly products available on the coffee brewing market.

"Even though the EcoCup costs more for us to supply for our customers, with the amount of cups we dispose of it's the right thing to do," said owner and founder Thomas Hammer. "The environment cannot come second to a company's bottom line."

Over the duration of the semester, members of Martello Design have poured many hours into the planning and production of EcoWeek at Gonzaga, Whitworth and Washington State University.

"It's like a part-time job," Melissa Hoffman said.

The process has been a rewarding experience.

"I hope all the students at the universities will be impressed by their efforts and will take heed and join the movement, if not already, to do something sustainable," Hammer said. "They even got The Bulldog to pour beer in EcoCups!"

Throughout the week, Martello Design promoted EcoCups with dorm storming, handing out free shirts, flower cups, wall paintings and coffee-grams.

"It's really exciting for me to see the fresh, new ideas that the students generate, and the work that this year's group has done for the Hammer launch is terrific," Professor Peggy Sue Loroz said. "It's definitely on par with what a professional agency can do, as evidenced by the fact that Thomas Hammer coffee is integrating some of the students' ideas into their larger campaign. I like to think we're 'Educating the Marketers the World Needs Most.' "

Composed of 18 Gonzaga students, Martello Design is the firm created by the students in the upper-level business course called the Promotion Project. The course is offered to business majors and minors each spring, which gives students the opportunity to function as a real-life marketing agency while working with a client and a real budget.

"The Promotion Project class gives students a unique educational opportunity to put their skills to work for a real client, and many former students have said that the class was one of the best experiences of their undergraduate careers," said Loroz.

This year, the client paired with the Promotion Project is Thomas Hammer Coffee Roasters. Martello Design's assignment was to create and promote the EcoCup buzz at college campuses.

Like any marketing agency, Martello Design comprises separate departments such as advertising, promotions and public relations. Each department is responsible for a facet of the agency's work, and overseeing the entire process is the chief position filled by Camille Merritt.

"Through this experience, I've personally enjoyed learning about my management style and realizing how difficult it can be to manage a group of 18 people," Merritt said. "I think everyone has learned a lot about their ability to work as a team under a lot of pressure. We've definitely all been challenged to think outside of the box, and it has been great to get a 'real world' feel for marketing, especially when meeting deadlines."

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