Iconic Ads: Nescafe – Taste that Gets You Started Up

If instant coffee had to grow in India, it needed to appeal to an audience that was not affected by ritualistic behaviour – the youth.

In 1998, coffee as a habit was still alien to many customers (except South Indian). Coffee was still an outsider. But tea was a ritual and consumed for every reason across the day, starting from the early hours. Coffee was a feel-good which was difficult to sustain from a business standpoint.  

Nestle realized that if instant coffee had to grow in India, it needed to appeal to an audience that was not affected by ritualistic behaviour with beverages. The youth of that time.

Post liberalization, the youth had a mindset very different from their parents. They lived for today, unlike their parents who saved up for the future. It was a dramatic shift as the youth believed that tomorrow would be better than today contrary to their parents.  

This class was the forerunner of the digital age in India. They were aggressive, experimentative, innovative and made their own decisions. Not constrained by the old career options but willing to try such areas as copywriting, retailing, singing etc. They believed each morning was the start of a new opportunity.

Nestle and McCann decided to adapt the international ‘Open Up’ campaign for India for Nescafe Classic. And ‘The Taste that gets you started up’ was a standout campaign that appealed more specifically to the youth of the upper-middle class and above. This campaign resonated with the youth and their aspirations and was a success (it is a different matter that Nescafe decided to go mass later on).

Bharat Bala/ Kanika Myer did this commercial and the jingle was sung by Samantha Edwards to the music by Ranjit Barot.

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