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Nespresso #TheCoffeeRevolution at SXSW

Entered in Hashtag


Nespresso had struggled to find an audience in the US with its European-influenced quality and luxury messaging. With limited scope and a shoestring budget, we used the SXSW conference to prove that aligning the brand with innovation and tech culture was the key to translating the brand's position to a US audience. In doing so, we shattered expectations, beat tech giants on their own home turf and shifted the brand's perceptions of itself, leading to a different approach to marketing in the US versus the rest of the world.

Strategy and Execution

Nespresso, a household name and category leader in Europe, had struggled to find sustained success in the United States for some time.

The new VertuoLine machine was intended to appeal to a new, larger audience, who wasn't predisposed to the brand. The machine brewed both espresso as well as "long" 8oz coffees to woo US consumers who might otherwise have been turned off by the brand's espresso-only machines.

We needed to drive trial of Nespresso while highlighting the new VertuoLine machine.

We knew that a critical factor to getting consumers who were unfamiliar with the brand to really understand why Nespresso was a truly different and superior coffee experience was getting them to taste the product and experience the machine in action. We knew that if we could get the right core group of people to actually try it, we could create converts who could spread the word.

SXSW Was Our Perfect Opportunity. With its concentration of tech-obsessed coffee drinkers, Nespresso could find its most active and vocal consumers.

Knowing the historical importance of both Twitter and Instagram to SXSW attendees, we began by developing a hashtag driven, always-on social media strategy to get the attention of hung over, coffee-hungry tech-elite looking to connect online. So we set up a social listening tool to monitor the #SXSW conversations and find opportunities to jump into relevant conversations to drive traffic to our tasting dome. Our design team built digital maps that we attached to responses including #TheCoffeeRevolution hashtag.

When users arrived at the #CoffeeDome, we continued our social relationship by encouraging visitors to take selfies with the product and post the image to their Twitter or Instagram feed with the hashtag #TheCoffeeRevolution.

Strong social media support helped drive 14,000+ tasting trials of the VertuoLine machine, 1.1x more than we had originally projected.

During our stay in Austin #TheCoffeeRevolution, was mentioned 1,844 times, with 4.3MM potential impressions generated from user mentions. In addition, The Mug Shot Giveaway, which required users to hold the VertuoLine machine in a photo and upload the image using the campaign hashtag to either Twitter or Instagram, received 362 entries and 178,397 potential impressions.

Our activation strategies worked together to drive significant reach across social with total impressions reaching 51MM over the course of four days. We gained 4,000+ followers with a daily growth rate 7x higher than the 2014 average. Nespresso mentions peaked at 1,266, amplifying our average Nespresso mentions by 23%.

Nespresso dominated the coffee conversation, garnering 67% of all coffee brand mentions during SXSW. In addition, going toe-to-toe with big activations from some of the biggest advertisers in the world in every category– e.g. HBO, Doritos, Apple and Samsung – Nespresso was the fourth most mentioned brand hashtag with 4,190 mentions, right behind Apple and right in front of Samsung, at a tech conference!


Entrant Company / Organization Name

Deep Focus, MAS Event and Design, Group M, Merkle NYC


Entry Credits