Cumberland Farms brews a new ad campaign

Chris Morris for The Boston Globe

Globe Staff 

Move over, David Hasselhoff. Cumberland Farms has a new celebrity pitching its coffee.

The Westborough-based convenience store chain has embarked on a new ad campaign to promote its coffee. This time, it’s actor Michael Rapaport (above) extolling the virtues of Cumby’s Farmhouse Blend.


Marty Donohue, partner at Cumberland Farms’s agency, Full Contact Advertising of Boston, says his team wanted an actor who could convey a level of impatience at having to pay more than 99 cents for coffee — the cost of a cup of joe at Cumby’s. Rapaport quickly came to mind as he’s known for playing characters who are impetuous or sarcastic.0

“People know him really well as this guy who gets exasperated,” Donohue says. “He’s fun, but he’s got a real edge to him.”

Rapaport drove up from New York to a Cumby’s in Ludlow a few weeks ago to shoot the ads, Donohue says. In one, Rapaport says: “The last time I paid three bucks for a cup of coffee, I got three of them.”

Hasselhoff’s first promotion with Cumby’s in 2012 involved life-sized cutouts of the “Baywatch” actor at store locations — which were often stolen and found hanging on dorm-room walls. Then, in 2013, Hasselhoff’s paean for Cumberland coffee was memorialized in the music video “Thirsty for Your Love.” Rapaport’s involvement won’t involve the same kind of theatrics.

“Hasselhoff did such a great job, [but those ads were] more about the pageantry of David Hasselhoff,” Donohue says.


In this campaign, the focus is more on the coffee’s low price. It wasn’t tailored specifically for an actor as the Hasselhoff promotions were.

“This is almost like putting a line in the sand,” Donohue says. “At least for one thing, one product, you don’t have to pay stupid money.” — JON CHESTO

No looking back for GE executive

Sounds like Jeff Bornstein is glad to be out of Dodge . . . er, Fairfield. Sorta.

The chief financial officer of General Electric Co. talked about the company’s relocation from Connecticut to Boston in a special Wall Street Journal section on corporate leadership published Wednesday.

He “hated” the location of the old corporate campus in suburban Fairfield, called it a “morgue,” and said its dispersed setup was too isolating. In Boston, “I can walk out my door and visit four startups,” Bornstein said. “In Fairfield, I couldn’t even walk out my door and get a sandwich.”

He certainly sounded taken by Boston. But as any veteran commuter could have warned him, Bornstein seems to have learned a truth about living here that probably didn’t make it into the marketing materials that city and state officials used to woo GE.


“The traffic here,” he acknowledged, “can be pretty ugly.” — ADAM VACCARO

Sister city salesman?

New London, Conn., Mayor Michael Passero is turning to one of Boston’s premier salesmen to pitch his city — to other Boston business folks.

Public relations impresario George Regan says he plans to introduce Passero to Boston real estate executives over the next few weeks, with a goal of persuading them to consider investing in New London. Regan says he’s lining up meetings with John Fish, Arthur Winn, and John Drew, among others.

Regan and Passero hit it off after Regan bought and renovated a historic building for Quinn & Hary Marketing, an agency Regan owns in New London. Regan says he invested nearly $2 million in the project, with Quinn & Hary on the lower two floors and apartments on the top two levels, essentially making Regan a residential landlord. Regan says he isn’t being paid to promote New London; he’s come to really believe in its potential.

New London is enjoying some economic momentum right now, and Passero is pitching the city as a thriving nexus of rail, highway, and boat connections.

Submarine builder Electric Boat is adding jobs again, big time. Meanwhile, Yale New Haven Health has affiliated with the local hospital, and federal funds were just approved for a new Coast Guard museum.

But Passero is still trying to find occupants for land that was seized for redevelopment purposes after a bruising legal battle more than a decade ago. Maybe Regan can offer some assistance there, if the PR guru wants another crack at being a real estate mogul. — JON CHESTO