Nespresso focuses on its farmers rather than George Clooney for latest campaign

The coffee brand’s first major sustainability campaign aims to change quality perceptions and isn’t “opportunistic”, according to its head marketer.

Nespresso is launching its first ever above the line campaign around its sustainability efforts, as the brand insists it is not an “opportunistic” campaign but a long-term strategy.

‘The choices we make’ campaign, which launches today (12 September) and was created by JWT, features a 60-second TV film and will also run across digital and print media. Four short online films and a new content hub have been created to share the personal stories of the farmers behind the coffee. The ads will run until the end of the year.

The TV ad focuses specifically on Nespresso building a community mill in Colombia where farmers can bring their coffee beans to be processed. The company says it has helped farmers save up to five hours a day during picking season, which they are able to reinvest in their families, communities and hobbies.

One story, for example, shows coffee farmer Luis, who can now spend more time with his son. The community mill, he says, has also enabled better water management and cleaner rivers in the region. And while brand ambassador George Clooney might not be the star, he does narrate the campaign.

Marking a ‘turnaround’ for the brand

While Nespresso launched a digital campaign around International Recycling Day in May, the new platform marks the first time it has spoken out about its sustainability efforts on a mass scale.

It launched the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality Programme in 2003, in which it works with farmers to create sustainable coffee farming practices to increase the “quality, productivity and longevity” of their coffee farms.

Speaking to Marketing Week, Nespresso’s head of UK marketing, Eva Pederzini, says the platform marks a “turnaround” for the brand and that it wanted to take the opportunity to start a conversation around its approach to sustainability.

“For the first time we are talking clearly and openly about our sustainable programme – but it has always been one of our top priorities. Consumers don’t know where the coffee comes from, or how our production has been beneficial to the whole value chain, as we’d never spoken about it before,” she says.

Pederzini adds the campaign is “only the beginning” of its efforts to highlight its sustainability credentials, and rejects the notion that the campaign is solely a ‘bolt-on’ element.

We are not taking an opportunistic approach [with this campaign], it is absolutely what we believe is the right thing to do. This is a brand platform and not a single campaign.

Eva Pederzini, Nespresso

“The sustainability programme has been running since 2003, but we’ve only now decided to be outspoken about it in a clear way. At the time, consumers weren’t as sensitive to the issue as they are now. We know that they are interested in sustainability, recycling and the positive impact that they can deliver [by choosing our products],” she explains.

“We are not taking an opportunistic approach [with this campaign], it is absolutely what we believe is the right thing to do. This is a brand platform and not a single campaign. There are more stories to come and it’s only the beginning.”

READ MORE: Nespresso: Consumers are ‘misinformed’ on recycling

Besides focusing on its coffee farmers, recycling is also an important issue for Nespresso. The company has previously faced negative headlines around its single-serve aluminum pods, which have been accused of creating unnecessary waste. It previously admitted it needed to do more to educate consumers on its pods, but Pederzini insists it has made headway on the issue.

She concludes: “We are improving our communication in terms of recycling in a continuous way. And in parallel we’re committed to making recycling easier for our customers. We are improving and believe we still need to do more.”