A couple of weeks ago I walked into the office ready to ingest my mourning dosage of caffeine only to find out that the coffee pot had been dropped. So I ran across the street to purchase some Starbucks as I was in need of some serious caffeine. I was not until I was waiting in line that I noticed the little instant packets sitting on the counter. Since I am trying to cut my coffee expenses down I figured that getting some would be more economical than getting coffee every morning until the pot was replaced.
It was not until I tried one of the little instant packets that I was hooked. These things taste pretty damn good, and I could store them anywhere the only problem was they were far more expensive than ground coffee. So when I started seeing the advertisements being made by Nescafe about their new Taster’s Choice packets being 400% less than the Starbucks packets I thought it would be worth a try.
UNDERSTANDING THE MESSAGING
Before I discuss the my impressions of the Taster’s Choice packets – which you might be able to guess from this article’s title – lets take a look at the messaging of both products.
Starbucks has done something extremely interesting. The strength of their brand has been used to convince consumers to give instant coffee another try. This says a lot for their brand, considering that most Americans perception of instant coffee has been extremely negative. But the fundamental thing here is that their messaging matches their product. They claim that VIA is instant coffee that tastes like fresh brewed, and it appears that consumers agree.
Starbucks Coffee Value & Values Campaign
Nescafe Taster’s Choice
Aside from the obvious value-based message that Nescafe offers instant coffee for far less than Starbucks, they are also visually implying similarities between their product and the new Starbucks VIA instant coffee. I don’t think anyone would try to deny this, by comparing the recent Nescafe campaign to a recent series of Starbucks print ads we can see that not only are the color palettes extremely close (looks closer in print), but they even use the exact same bold wood block style typeface at large display sizes.
Nescafe Taster’s Choice Microsite
SURFACE DEEP DESIGN
What Nescafe is ultimately trying to do by emulating the Starbucks brand is convince consumers that their product is just as good as Starbucks VIA, which unfortunately is just not the case. In fact, it is the exact product that Starbucks is trying not to be wrapped up in new packaging with design being used as a thin veneer to saying otherwise. While this advertising campaign may pay off in the short run, I find it very hard to believe that many of these customers expecting an experience similar to Starbucks VIA will become loyal customers. I would even argue that the disappointment that Nescafe is creating could go so far as to strengthen the Starbucks VIA brand, signifying just how much better VIA is than other instant coffees.
It just makes you think, when will marketers learn that design used to deceive is only bound to fail?