Launched in 1938 in Switzerland by Nestle, Nescafé is one of the world’s most distributed (not necessarily popular) brands of instant coffee, sold in over 180 countries. Facing competition from growing global brands like Starbucks, Mondelez’s new coffee spin-off company, and the growing sense that instant coffee ain’t all that good, Nescafé is launching a global brand campaign that aims to appeal to a whole new generation of coffee drinkers. Launched last month and rolling out over time across all global operations the new identity, campaign (“It all starts with a Nescafé”), and brand rallying cry (“REDvolution”) have been developed by Publicis, CBA, and OgilvyOne (Frankfurt).
This summer, the company plans to launch a marketing campaign that reboots the 76-year-old brand to appeal to younger consumers in their teens who are just starting to drink coffee. Nestlé’s Swiss head office will take charge of the campaign to create a unified global identity for the brand, breaking with a long-standing practice of allowing its local businesses to determine marketing.
The unified approach to packaging design, communication and digital strategy for Nescafé, drunk at a rate of 5,500 cups each second, will feature several key design elements developed with new, younger consumers in mind.
These include the Nescafé red accent, taken from the modernised Nescafé brand mark, the iconic red Nescafé mug and a stylised graphic device, the “hub” - an aerial view of a mug of coffee.
In some of the articles about this story, I found it quite relatable how Nescafé was such a popular brand and home staple during the 1970s and 80s. I remember it being the sole coffee delivery system in my house when I was kid. When I started “drinking” coffee in college in 1995 that was still what was available in my cupboard. Since then I’ve always thought of Nescafé instant coffee as my parents’ coffee. No offense mom and dad. Also, being part of a giant global manufacturer like Nestle, it never seemed like Nescafé could be a cool, enjoyable thing to consume as part of a daily routine. So, now, they are trying to appeal to me as if it were 1995 and I have to admit that, even if the effort feels a little forced, they are not completely off the mark.
The new logo does a very simple maneuver to refresh itself: go from a flared serif wordmark to a rounded-ish sans serif. Just like instant coffee, if you stir a rounded sans-serif enough you get a drinkable product. It’s not amazing but it instantly changes its vibe. Perhaps it’s a stretch but the new “E”s look like the mug’s handle. Pretty smart if it was on purpose. The focus of the new logo is the accent which I am guessing is made to look like steam coming out of a coffee mug. It’s a bit exaggerated but I guess if accents are about emphasis this is emphasized emphasis. The extended line off the “N” across the whole word is still dumb as rocks but, hey, equity is equity.
More than the logo I am really enjoying this aerial view of the mug. I’ll backtrack too: I find it an interesting approach that they have manufactured this iconic red mug that will come to represent Nescafé as much as the logo and perhaps as instantly recognizable as a Tiffany & Co. blue box. Back to the aerial view… it’s a quirky, iconic shape that is neither a square nor a circle but kind of the best of both, giving them a really ownable shape that works great to deliver simple graphic messages.
They are still a global, corporate brand so shitty ideas and poor executions are to be expected as in the two Facebook covers above. Just, no. But it will be interesting to see how much control Nescafé can muster in really delivering a consistent brand across the globe.
Overall this is a significant effort by a giant company and product. I wish the rollout would be more strict and have as many of the digital Nescafé presences turn over to the new look, but I do understand the complexities involved. It’s an uphill climb for Nescafé to become a cool coffee brand for new or past audiences but this is a better start than expected.
Thanks to Stiann Bredesen for the tip.