Ashwini Gangal

Nescafe stutters its way into netizens' hearts

With 2,93,639 (and counting) views on YouTube, the latest ad film for Nescafé - coffee brand from Nestlé - has also fetched a fair amount of attention on Facebook and Twitter. It broke online on September 5 and will be launched on TV soon.

Nescafe stutters its way into netizens' hearts
Nescafe stutters its way into netizens' hearts
Nescafe stutters its way into netizens' hearts
What's the biggest strength of a standup comedian who stammers? "Sss...ssus..suss...suspense," goes Rishi, the protagonist in Nescafé's latest ad film, created by McCann Erickson. A crowd full of well turned out young adults - perhaps the core TG - cheers him on as he gets on with his act, weaving facts about his disability into it.

Working the main product feature into the higher order benefit of tenacity, the comedian's act ends with the words, "Thank God for coffee... Isne mujhe lagaye rakha (kept me going) aur aapko jagaye rakha (kept you awake)..."

He speaks in Hindi but the film has English subtitles throughout. The film ends with the super, "It all starts with a Nescafé." On YouTube, the brand team has put up a short paragraph that lends context to the film. It reads: "We all fall, get up and complete the race of life! And while we huddle up with friends, family and the world to celebrate the success, it is only that one companion that silently stays by our side all through the journey, right from the start, never letting us give up & keeping us on plan."

The Twitter hashtag #ItAllStarts has helped turn this film into the talk of the virtual town over the past four days.

The film has been directed by Vinil Mathew, who recently directed the Bollywood movie Hasee Toh Phasee. Mathew has also directed Airtel's recent ad featuring Rakul Preet Singh.

Recall that in the recent past, Nescafé's ads have featured several celebrities including Deepika Padukone, Purab Kohli, musicians Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and director Karan Johar.

Brewing Inspiration?

Nescafe stutters its way into netizens' hearts
Nescafe stutters its way into netizens' hearts
In the view of Vipin Dhyani, founder and chief creative director, Thoughtshop Advertising & Film Productions, the film is written and directed well, and brings forth a fresh premise.

"The duration," he says, referring the two minute+ length of the film, "simply tells you that it is palatable through social media only." Citing the recent ad by Fortune cooking oil as an example, he says, opting for the "soulful approach to convey a brand message" is proving to be a good route for advertisers.

Brands, Dhyani opines, need to club good scripts with the digital platform more often, and stop worrying about whether such attempts will boost sales. "A film like this strikes a chord because and it doesn't talk like an ad," he says, adding about the casting, "The protagonist has a perfect face; it evokes empathy and humor at the same time."

Rohit Malkani, regional creative director, Publicis Singapore, says, "Contrary to the way I like my coffee I found the film, light and sweet. But just like my coffee... it's uplifting. The brief was perhaps in the space of 'What new thought did your coffee spark off today?'"

About the format of the film, he adds, "The construct is like a TVC, but the duration leaves me wondering whether it borders on branded content. Maybe this effort is just a little short of great branded content, but is a nice step in the right direction."

For him, the best example of good branded content is Intel's 'The Beauty Inside' series of six short films. "But this," he says coming back to the Nescafé film, "kind of leaves me half way through."

But in any case, this sort of part TVC-part branded content film, he opines, says a lot about the way marketers are approaching their communication these days. "There is a brave new world out there and some marketers are happy to embrace it. This film will give the brand a contemporary flip and get people talking about it," analyses Malkani.

He cautions, though, "I hope they are doing more than just seeding it online. It is begging for a social conversation. I think the stammering part is a context and nothing more. Let's not overdo this, like my maid ruins two-minute noodles," referencing Nescafé's sister brand, Maggi.

About the creative execution, Malkani says, "Lovely to see Vinil back in action. Superbly crafted, with nice little touches like the lift closing before he finishes the joke," and adds about the casting, "I think he (actor Hussain Dalal, who plays the comedian in the film) was good... a trifle overdone in some places... but good."

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