Celebrity Sells…What Else?

Since 2006, George Clooney has been the face of Nespresso (Nespresso, 2016; Miller, 2015; Papworth, 2016).  When you think of Nespresso, you think of George Clooney.  You may recall some of his memorable ads for Nespresso, like the one below.

Earlier this year, when the Israeli Espresso Club used a look-a-like George Clooney in their ad, it enraged Nespresso who vowed to sue the company (Papworth, 2016).  Here is the ad for Espresso Club.

This is not the first time a brand pitches itself against Nespresso.  Below are an ad for Martello Café and an ad for Nespresso featuring George Clooney. You can’t deny the similar ad design, except for the obvious dig at Nespresso’s well known What Else? marketing campaign. Martello’s counter tagline reads “Cheaper. Nothing Else!”

cheaper nothing else

What else

The Right Endorsement

The partnership between George Clooney and Nespresso illustrates how the right celebrity endorsement could enormously contribute to a company’s marketing campaign, which when aligned with the marketing mix and brand image, it could help grow the brand, boost brand recognition and customer’s positive attitude (Mishra, 2015). Research has demonstrated that celebrity endorsement can have significant effect on consumer’s attitude towards a brand and its products. This includes their perception about the brand’s authenticity and image, credibility of the ads as well as their buying intentions because “celebrities transfer an extensive set of associations to the brands they endorse” (Mishra, 2015, p19).

According to source credibility models, endorsers are often seen as a credible and/or trustworthy source of information (Mishra, 2015; Bergkvist, et al., 2016; Hung, 2014). As such, it increases the consumer’s willingness to accept the messages communicated in the ad. It also grabs consumers’ attention (Bergkvist, et al., 2016).  Further, likable or attractive celebrity endorsers have a positive effect on brand recognition and attitude (Mishra, 2015) as these figures could be seen as aspirational figures, someone whom the consumer might want to aspire to be (Iacobucci, 2013).

Celebrity effects could also be explained with elaboration likelihood model (Hung, 2014; Iacobucci, 2013). When consumer focuses on celebrity attributes in an ad, they elaborate and systematically process the celebrity’s attributes “along the central route of persuasion”. In doing this, the messages from the ad will “result in persistent attitude change” (Hung, 2014 p156). For consumers who are not attentive to the celebrity attributes, elaboration is limited and thus allowing affect transfer from celebrity to brand (Hung, 2014).

Nespresso markets itself as a lifestyle brand, a premium coffee product that is of high quality but produced in a sustainable and socially responsible way (Datamonitor, 2007; Miller, 2015). It is a brand of quality, luxury, sophistication and exclusivity which George Clooney personified through his style and charm (Datamonitor, 2007).  Let’s see how this is portrayed in their latest ad below.

What we see is an “emotional” and “image” type of ad. There is humour, charm and sophistication, very much in line with what the image Nespresso wants to cultivate about its product/brand.

According to Nespresso, George Clooney was chosen by Club Members to represent the brand because he embodies the qualities of the brand, the “elegance and authenticity that make Nespresso what it is today” (Nespresso, 2016). In essence, what is described here is a fit between the brand and the celebrity. As with co-branding, when there is congruence between the brand and the celebrity, it results in a positive effect on attitudes towards a brand and product (Bergkvist, et al., 2016; Popescu, 2014), a transfer of meaning and affect from one to the other (Mishra, 2015; Hung, 2014).

It further strengthens the positive association and attitudes towards the brand when the celebrity genuinely likes the brand or have other positive motives for endorsing the brand  (Bergkvist, et al., 2016).  In the case of George Clooney, he surely holds Nespresso in good esteem and has openly praised the company’s sustainability initiatives (Hogan, 2015).  Whether this is true or not is unimportant. What counts is it is believable.

Hang Nguyen/hngu2204/215192574


Bergkvist, L., Hjalmarson, H. & Magi, A. W., 2016. A new model of how celebrity endorsements work: attitude toward the endorsement as a mediator of celebrity source and endorsement effects. International Journal of Advertising, 35(2), pp. 171-184.

Datamonitor, 2007. Nespresso Case Study. [Online] Available at: http://eds.b.ebscohost.com.ezproxy-b.deakin.edu.au/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=11&sid=54b786fa-1c44-429c-8792-3ae6e6443773@sessionmgr103&hid=127&preview=false [Accessed 1 May 2016].

Hogan, B., 2015. Watch George Clooney talks about Nespresso’s sustainability efforts. [Online] Available at: WATCH: Clooney Talks About Nespresso’s Sustainability Efforts – See more at: http://www.ecorazzi.com/2015/11/05/watch-clooney-talks-about-nespressos-sustainability-efforts/#sthash.KVWkzcIv.dpuf [Accessed 3 May 2016].

Hung, K., 2014. Why celebrity sells: A dual entertainment path model of brand endorsement. Journal of Advertising, 43(2), pp. 155-166.

Iacobucci, D. 2013., MM4 Student edition, South-Western Cengage Learning, USA

Miller, M., 2015. Nespresso Convinces George Clooney to Appear in First US Ad. [Online] Available at: http://brandchannel.com/2015/10/30/nespresso-clooney-103015/ [Accessed 2 May 2016].

Mishra, A., 2015. Brand-Celebrity match and its impact on advertising effectiveness. DLSU Business & Economics Review, 25(1), pp. 16-27.

Nespresso, 2016. Brand Related. [Online] Available at: https://www.nestle-nespresso.com/about-us/faqs/brand-related [Accessed 5 May 2016].

Papworth, T., 2016. Nespresso is suing a rival coffee company over George Clooney lookalike. [Online] Available at: https://www.marketingmag.com.au/news-c/nespresso-suing-rival-coffee-company-george-clooney-lookalike/ [Accessed 1 May 2016].

Popescu, G. H., 2014. The economic value of celebrity endorsement: A literature review. Economics, Management and Financial Markets, 9(4), pp119-124.



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