For the very first time, Nespresso is speaking out about its sustainability efforts on a global scale. Bringing forth the real-life stories of the farmers behind the coffee, the brand has chosen to tackle the controversial topic head on, to shift consumer perceptions around quality and prove its dedication to the cause.

Combining four short online films, stunning imagery and a new content hub sharing the authentic stories of the faces that shape the brand, here’s why we chose ‘The Choices We Make’ as our September campaign of the month.

The Insight

Previously shying away from conversations around its ethical credentials, this campaign marks a major shift in direction for the leading coffee brand to focus on the rising emphasis consumers are placing on sustainability. 

Our data shows that 7% of internet users now class themselves as ‘eco consumers’ – those who think brands should produce eco-friendly products.

Taking note of this rise in the number of consumers opting for products that deliver a positive impact, this campaign tackles perceptions of the brand previously criticised for creating unnecessary waste.

Speaking to Marketing Week, Nespresso’s Head of UK Marketing, Eva Pederzini, emphasized this as a brand platform as opposed to a single campaign – one that marks a significant ‘turnaround’:

“Consumers are valuing more a sustainable approach from different companies and we have not been aggressive or very open in the way we have communicated this.”

The Message

The messaging spread across the campaign is based around the simple idea: the difficult choices we make determine our outcomes.

Speaking candidly about its ongoing dedication to making the right choices, the company tells how, through the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality Programme, launched in 2003, it has helped farmers in Columbia to save up to five hours a day during picking season, which they could reinvest in their families, communities and hobbies.

Their reasons for doing so are ingrained in the ultimate message and promise to their consumers: “We make uncompromising choices, one after another, to bring you exceptional coffee. After all, we are the choices we make aren’t we?”

Global Strategy Director for Nespresso, Javier de la Cruz Hermoye, explains: ‘The Choices We Make’ campaign was planned as an owned-out approach, ensuring all channels facilitate users to experience the coffee platform contents and deliver an educational value exchange.

To support the aspirational nature of the brand, we prioritized premium formats and environments, while leveraging digital signals to reach and personalize the experience to Nespresso growth segments and club members.”

Why It Worked

In a world where every brand needs a social cause behind its name, the move is a step in the right direction for Nespresso to cement its consumer-centric status.

Veering away from its familiar approach to advertising that featured partner George Clooney as the glamorous face of the brand, Nespresso decided to explore more emotional and authentic storytelling. Tackling a controversial subject head on in the hopes of breaking down common misconceptions and positioning themselves as sustainability advocates, the bold move that put Clooney in a backseat role as narrator was cleverly considered.

Knowing what’s important to their audience and what perceptions they needed to shift, this refreshing campaign makes the claim that the brand stands for something more, while also telling the world they will no longer shy away from the topics that matter to their consumers.

And it’s about time, too.

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