Nescafe creative hits funny bone

Some of the year's funniest, in-your-face creative is featured in a Quebec-only campaign for Nescafe Instant Coffee.Created by Montreal's Marketel McCann-Erickson, the ads are variations on the same theme.The campaign includes two loopy tv spots, but the humorous concept developed by...

Some of the year’s funniest, in-your-face creative is featured in a Quebec-only campaign for Nescafe Instant Coffee.

Created by Montreal’s Marketel McCann-Erickson, the ads are variations on the same theme.

The campaign includes two loopy tv spots, but the humorous concept developed by Marketel Art Director Michele Petitclerc finds its most effective application in a series of four-color billboard and transit posters guaranteed to amuse even the most stone-cold passengers.

Grumpy people

One of the posters shows four grumpy-looking people in an office. The headline, as it is in all the posters, is ‘Ils n’ont pas pris leur Nescafe ce matain,’ or, ‘They didn’t have their Nescafe this morning.’

The photo is hilarious. The moody appearance of the people is enhanced by the head-on angle.

‘If you’re not in a good mood in the morning, you tell people, `Look, I haven’t had my coffee yet,’ ‘ Petitclerc says. ‘The headline plays on that popular expression.

‘All of the ads try to show people in humorous situations,’ she says. ‘Either the people are in bad shape, in a bad mood, or are having bad luck because they didn’t drink their Nescafe that morning.’

No body copy

The posters have no body copy, only a headline and a slogan. The slogan ties in nicely with the headline: ‘Ca commence bien le matin,’ or, in English, ‘It starts the day off right.’

Petitclerc says these ads ‘depict people who haven’t started their day off right. The concept is based on the idea that people need at least 10 minutes in the morning with their coffee before they can function properly.’

Claude Lavoie, Marketel’s vice-president, client services, says the most popular poster in this campaign is one showing the cartoon character from Montreal’s Just For Laughs festival.

This little, horned, green monster dude is a critical visual element in all the festival’s substantial advertising efforts.

The Nescafe poster features him in an uncharacteristically glum mood.

‘Normally, the little guy is always laughing, but in our poster, he is not,’ Lavoie says. ‘People love it.’

Nestle, owner of the Nescafe brand, and Marketel had to buy the rights to use the cartoon character in the ad. But it was a highly calculated decision.

The Just For Laughs festival is popular in Montreal, rivalled only by the city’s jazz festival.

In Quebec’s most populous market, it was a clever articulation of the creative concept.

Leveraging the ad

‘There’s no question we were leveraging our ad with a well-known character in the Montreal market,’ Lavoie says.

As with any effective poster campaign, Nescafe’s message is quickly and easily understood. But it is also a style appropriate to selling coffee. This is pure brand-building.

Nescafe is not trying to explain why its product is superior to its competition, and it is not obligated to describe a long list of technical features.

The ads have to stand out and they have to be memorable. On both counts, they excel.

‘Posters have to be so direct,’ Lavoie says. ‘The message has to be communicated instantaneously.’

The concept is so successful that Marketel has just put the final touches on a new set of transit posters for another campaign running this autumn.

One of the funniest new ads shows a road worker painting a crooked yellow line in the middle of a street.

‘We know that this is not possible, but we believe in it anyway,’ Petitclerc says. ‘I think this is the kind of campaign that could run for a long time.’