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George Clooney Nespresso US Coffee Advert

Updated on May 11, 2017
Beth Eaglescliffe profile image

I write about employment issues, ways to earn money and how to get best value when spending it.

George Clooney; Who Else?

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George Clooney and Nespresso

The American actor George Clooney has had a long association in Europe with the coffee brand Nespresso. The first ad featuring him as a cool, suave and sophisticated hunk was aired in 2006. The storyline was a gentle self-mocking one. George overhears two beautiful women talking about Nespresso coffee in flattering terms and assumes they are describing him. He realizes his mistake and the punchline “Nespresso – what else?” was born.

Nespresso Commercial With George Clooney

What is the USP of Nespresso?

The Nespresso brand is owned by the Nestlé Group of companies. Its unique selling point (USP) is that the complete product is made within the group. From growing the coffee beans to perfecting the coffee blend, from devising a marketing strategy to the manufacture and distribution of the aluminum capsules, they are all completed by businesses within the umbrella group.

In recent years, the company has added “green” credentials to this list. They offer recycling options for their capsules, they pay above the market rate to their coffee growers and they are involved in environmental initiatives to prevent habitat degradation.

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The International Coffee Organization recently warned that although coffee was one of the leading performers on commodity markets this year … growers in many parts of the world still failed to receive enough money to cover their cost of production.

… Nespresso offers growers in its "AAA" sustainability programme 30-40 per cent more for their beans compared with the benchmark price, and 10-15 per cent above beans of similar quality.

— Financial Times 22.10.2016

The Nespresso Experience

The Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality Program ... invests in community infrastructures, paying cash premiums for superior coffee and best agricultural practices, and provides farmers with training, financing and technical assistance to continuously improve quality, sustainability and productivity – the three pillars represented by the “triple As” in the program’s name.

— Nespresso website

Nestlé Group Based in Switzerland

Nestlé is a Swiss company and the initial marketing of the Nespresso brand focused on Switzerland, France, Belgium and Luxemburg. As the success of the brand grew, promotion of Nespresso spread to the rest of Europe and then to countries beyond.

Customers (members of The Nespresso Club) were asked to choose who should represent the brand and they voted for George Clooney. This poll marked the start of Nestlé’s marketing of Nespresso as a global brand.

I love their coffee and it was the Clooney ad campaign that enticed me to buy this particular brand. I enjoyed the marketing so much that I bought a Nespresso Pixie coffee machine. The idea behind the gadget is that each portion of coffee is hermetically sealed until it is pierced by the machine. The cup of coffee tastes as if it were made from freshly ground beans every time.

Using an internationally known American actor for their adverts chimed with the plan to enter the lucrative American and Far Eastern markets. For 10 years (2006 to 2016) the advertising campaign in all countries was the same (apart from language subtitles). 2016 saw a change in this marketing policy as the first Nespresso George Clooney ad was filmed especially for the American market. So why now, and has this changed the storyline?

Nespresso aluminum coffee capsules.
Nespresso aluminum coffee capsules. | Source

Change Nothing Advert 2016

This advert is the latest in the series of Nespresso ads featuring George Clooney. It’s the first to have been made expressly for American viewers. Unlike earlier ads, “Change Nothing” contains violent scenes. He is kidnapped by Mafioso for chatting with the boss’ beautiful wife. The boss demands George forfeit a bag of Nespresso capsules to apologize for this misdemeanor. Instead George endures a beating but keeps the coffee which he drinks next morning through a bandaged face.

As a long-term fan of this (until now) tender marketing campaign, I am slightly shocked at the turn the story has taken. For ten years, the emphasis has been on wit and self-deprecation. Each year George Clooney has been paired with a different celebrity. The comedy results from the way they fight to be the center of attention while being in competition with the stellar quality of Nespresso coffee itself. This latest advert shows a more selfish side to celebrity. George Clooney’s character would rather have a cup of good coffee than avoid being beaten up.

George Clooney Changes Nothing

So What’s Changed? Marriage. What Else?

It is often said that “a week is a long time in politics”, so that makes a year more like a lifetime away. George Clooney’s life has changed and matured. He is still an international celebrity, but he is no longer an available bachelor. He married human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin in 2014. They both seem happy and their marriage solid.

His politics were in tune with those of Barak Obama, but he probably does not share the views of Donald Trump’s administration. He and Amal have campaigned for environmental causes and human rights. He has the profile to be able to highlight serious issues and bring them to the media’s attention. Perhaps the latest Nespresso ad is a back-handed way of doing this?

The advert implies the mafia boss’ wife is “owned” by her husband and she cannot talk to anyone without getting her husband’s permission. This controlling behavior can be an early sign of an abusive relationship. I hope that Amal Clooney has something to say to her husband on the choice of storyline.

George and Amal Clooney at Cannes Film Festival 2016.
George and Amal Clooney at Cannes Film Festival 2016. | Source

Is this Advert a Success or a Lemon?

It is always difficult to determine the success of a marketing campaign. One measure is to see how much “chatter” the advert has raised. For example, can you remember what brand was being promoted by the ad? Would you talk to a friend about the storyline or mention the celebrities in the video? Can you describe in 30 seconds the key points of the advert? Have you shared the video on social media? Did you enjoy the ad? Was it memorable? Would you like to watch it again? And finally, …. Are you going to buy the product being advertised?

Even though I dislike this latest offering of George Clooney’s Nespresso ads, if it is measured in the above terms, it is a success. The advert has inspired me to write this article and share my thoughts with you. However, I hope the storyline of next year’s ad will revert to the gentle humor of earlier editions.

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