Coffee capsules, Clooney and copycats

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Copycats are nothing new in the coffee capsule game, but a copycat Clooney – now that’s a new one.

George Clooney has been the face of Nespresso for a decade now. That means I’ve been addicted to those shiny little coffee pods for 10 years. Time to celebrate by cracking another pod of caffeine … my 2000th??.

This week, George Clooney’s doppelgänger became the star of an Israeli competitor’s “espresso club” ad. Nespresso wants the look-alike ads to cease and wants the company to pay up: compensation.

The humble coffee pod has become big business, with many companies managing to sneak around Nespresso’s patented machines and make their eco-friendly, sustainable coffee with a hint of Brazil fit the Nespresso machines.

Coffee quality aside, how does brand imitation affect the original brands?

We’ve all seen it: two similar-looking products sitting side by side on the supermarket shelf. The packaging aesthetics almost identical, generally one from a no name or store-owned brand, and cheaper than the national brand.

Although we see many no-name colas on the shelves – none are “the real thing”. No one wants Pepsi if they’ve ordered a Coke! Companies like Coca-Cola, and Nespresso have invested time and resources into creative packaging, advertising and branding to create an image in the consumers mind only to have another brand ride the coattails of those investments. Bring in the celebrity ambassadors and like Clooney they are so important. They make people want to buy a certain brand, become loyal to it and ultimately stick with it.

Clooney’s Nespresso ads are brilliant Being turned down by a series of beautiful women who are more interested in the coffee machine and its colourful single-use pods than him. We love that he pokes fun at himself, and the ads contradict his public persona: the suave, ladies-man who is a little bit smug.

The ads play with the idea of Nespresso being more important than ‘George Who?’ as one of the Nespresso films is entitled. Clooney is shown being out-attracted by a fine cup of Nespresso or mistaken for a valet by Club members. The print and billboard ads show the star as a Nespresso drinker and simply affirm ‘What Else?’ or zoom him out to focus on the cup of espresso he holds in his hand, instead.  The consistent and confident message: Nespresso is more suave and sexier than one of the sexiest men alive. It makes you think of the brand as smooth and irresistible.

Next time you’re in the area, pop on into the c word office & let’s have a chat about copycats and communications over a capsule of coffee: a nespresso.

Cheers, Jack & the c word crew

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