If you dare to call yourself bullet proof, expect your Kevlar to be tested.
In this post, we’ll touch on Bulletproof’s base product, Upgraded Coffee, and the techniques they use to spread the word.
A friend hit me up months ago and mentioned that he knew somebody connected to the company. They wanted to send some product for me to try, no strings attached. “You’d really appreciate the coffee,” he told me.
I was never a big name, but I’m no stranger to this sort of interaction. As an MLB player, companies constantly sent gear, gum, magnets, protein, whatever to the clubhouse. There are a myriad of reasons they do this, but the bottom line is, if a celebrity likes the product, they may sell more. Just ask Paris Hilton.
Offer the product for nothing in return initially, and the star is unlikely to say no. I found that no matter how many zeroes their paychecks had, my teammates dug free shit. Personally, I found myself throwing or giving stuff away as I became more discerning about the products I was willing to ingest or cover my skin with. I don’t play golf, and I don’t dig collars. How many polos can I wear?
We often muse at Kaplifestyle on diets, cleanses and products. Most of these cleverly marketed products should be immediately removed from the earth due to lack of substance and merit. Upgraded coffee is not one of those products. In fact, it’s quite tasty, and the company deserves applause for its attempt to educate while it sells. These cats have the selling part down.
When I received the package in the mail from Bulletproof, I was jazzed to find a branded silver coffee thermos, which turned out to be exceptional. I like my coffee to stay hot, and this bad boy was gold (stainless steel, actually). More importantly, the box also contained a sample of their “upgraded” coffee beans. From the company’s website:
Upgraded™ Coffee is the result of an obsessive pursuit to find the absolute highest performance coffee beans on earth. It’s taken me more than 10 years to identify every step of performance-robbing toxin formation in coffee and to find a reliable, perfect source of beans that always make me feel great – even though “normal” coffee gives me a headache and jitters and makes me cranky. This coffee makes you feel noticeably better than anything else you’ll find. You’ll never go back to your corner coffeehouse chain again. These beans are meant for drinking black or best of all, for making Bulletproof® Coffee with grass fed butter.
The term “Upgraded” immediately makes me nervous. I can’t help but think about a bean being altered from its natural state. What if a company told you their chicken was upgraded? My mind leaps to genetically modified, but my review of the product title is less important than the product itself. Here’s how they define upgraded:
Upgraded™ Coffee beans are mechanically processed right after picking using only clean cold water. This more expensive process is safer because it dramatically reduces harmful molds or bacteria from impacting your health.
There is a pretty substantial debate happening about these “harmful molds.” Evidencebasedfitness.net says:
Aflatoxin is indeed a toxin. It’s produced by a mold called Aspergillus flavus. Aspergillis is a mold that grows naturally in soil and cereal and plant crops. It’s everywhere. You’ve been living with it practically all of your life, just not in disease-causing quantities.
Aspergillis can cause disease in humans–it’s called aspergillosis. Aspergillosis usually affects people who are immunocompromised and can cause what is called embolic disease (the Bulletproof folks link it to heart attacks and aortic infarctions). However, aspergillosis is caused by an overgrowth of the Aspergillis mold, not the toxin. If your coffee is causing aspergillosis, you have a totally different set of problems and no amount of coffee, bulletproof or not, is going to help that.
So that appears to be a lot of marketing nonsense. Let’s get to the important stuff and the reason why I agreed to try the beans in the first place – the flavor and experience.
The makers claim “this coffee makes you feel noticeably better than anything else you’ll find.” This declaration was unequivocally untrue for me. Upgraded coffee made me feel the same way my organic, black, sensibly sourced coffee does. I noticed no tangible difference. It just wasn’t unique or terribly memorable. It was, however, tasty, and I was incredibly thankful for the gift. I reached out to the contact at bulletproof to display gratitude. Happy to have now experienced the brand, I moved on.
Later I the day, I received this response via email:
Great! Would you be interested in our ambassador program? (Product stipend/discount in exchange for spreading the BP word)
Now we come to the crux of their pitch. Put simply, if I tell you how great the product is, I get money and free stuff. Now it makes sense. Frankly, it’s a solid product with a ridiculously powerful buzz. Couple that with strong marketing and hustling employees and you can see why there’s so much discussion about it.
What they don’t know about is my relationship with you, my readers. I’ve promised to deliver authentic content. Translated – I’m not going to accept compensation in exchange for offering up a favorable review of a product. When I receive product samples to try, I will disclose that to you. Everything you read is going to be my unbiased opinion.
Hustle, to me, is to be celebrated, not demeaned. Bulletproof has done a nice job delivering and selling a solid, if not spectacular, product. I’d drink it again, but I won’t tell you that you should.
Stay tuned for a discussion on their other major “innovation” – adding butter to your coffee.
Now, instead of having free coffee delivered to me, I’m headed out with my credit card to grab some beans. Damn.