Campaign Review: Battle of the breaks in Coca-Cola vs Nestlé

By Anna Macdonald, originally shared on Mumbrella, 1.7.2021

In Campaign Review, Mumbrella invites the industry’s creatives and strategists to offer their views on recent ad campaigns. This week: Hardhat’s Lani Cush and Think HQ’s Andre Lima compare Coca-Cola’s and Nestlé’s latest campaigns.

Brand: Coca-Cola Australia

Campaign: Turn Up Your Break

Agency: Ogilvy Sydney

The verdict: Refreshing twist on well-established brand

Lani Cush, head of strategy at Hardhat, says:

With COVID dominating over the past 12–18 months, it makes sense that Coke would want to lift and lighten the mood, when we’re taking a much needed and well-earned break. Not only are they giving people permission to treat themselves with a coke, but they’re showing that in doing so, you can be happier for it. With happiness and that ‘coke feeling’ at its core, Coke has spent years building the idea that cracking a Coke will unleash the more bubbly, energetic version of yourself. Here, we see the end benefit in all its vibrant glory.

There’s no doubt Coke has one of the strongest, long-term market presence of any brand. Through a Behavioural Science lens, this can be partly credited to The Mere Exposure Effect — a term that refers to our tendency to develop a preference for things simply because we are familiar with them or exposed to them repeatedly. Though this ad may be memorable and impactful for Coca Cola, compared to a lesser-known brand doing the same thing, it could have become wallpaper.

Coke ran a campaign earlier in the year out of Asia ‘Turn up your rhythm’, so I’m not sure if this campaign was simply adapted for the Australian market to target the ‘break’ occasion, but it’s a nice line. ‘Turn up your break’ flips what we typically think of a break to be — as a relaxing exercise.

I wonder how much impact Ronaldo’s swipe at the brand will have in the Australian market.

Rating: 7/10

Andre Lima, head of creative and interactive at Think HQ, says:

It is interesting that Coke decided to refresh Archie Lee’s 80-year-old slogan “The Pause That Refreshes”, created during the Great Depression, in the middle of a pandemic. The similarities of the two situations abound — people are struggling financially, life is getting busier with the whole remote work situation (back then was the modern world), just to mention a few, so it’s fitting that Coca-Cola wants us to slow down and take time to enjoy our Cokes.

Everyone is fatigued, and needing time to recharge, so it feels like a timely campaign. We have all the recognisable elements you would find in a Coke ad — friendship, sharing, bustling settings, uplifting tone, so in that sense the campaign delivers.

I can’t help analysing some of the other symbols though, like the decision to use the “maneki-neko”, or Japanese lucky cats. They are featured in all different sizes, shapes and colours. The meanings can vary from region to region within Japan, like for example, a white cat can mean purity and happiness, while the golden cat brings wealth and prosperity. The ad features the cats only raising their left paw, which one would argue is for inviting customers and people to your business, while the right paw invites money and good fortune. But then the two chefs raise their right arms. I can’t help but wonder if there was any cultural research done so the symbolism was intentionally planned as part of the execution, or just a gimmick.

Regardless, the campaign is a nice and well-executed revival of an 80-year-old slogan for Coca-Cola.

Rating: 8/10

Brand: Nestlé Australia

Campaign: Now’s Good

Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi

The verdict: Doesn’t sell the product

Cush says:

I must admit, I am definitely not the target audience for this campaign. Being a self-confessed Melbourne coffee snob, I can’t quite fathom the appeal of instant coffee. Having said that, I can kind of see what they’ve done here and why. While tapping into the permissibility of giving yourself a break part-way through something as opposed to once you’ve finished the task, ‘whatever you’re up to, now’s good’, offers a cheeky moment to yourself, anytime. Who doesn’t want that?

The fact that the product makes it so easy is vital to this idea. No need to walk to your local cafe or froth the milk at home yourself, simply boil the kettle and take your moment in an instant.

In the world of Behavioural Science, you could look at this example as tapping into Hyperbolic Discounting — choosing a smaller-sooner reward (in this case a cup of Nescafe Creations) over a larger-later reward (finishing whatever task it is you’re working on).

Overall, this campaign doesn’t appeal to me and feels a little forced looking at it from a pure Advertising lens, but perhaps for the instant coffee lovers, this will hit the mark.

Rating: 5/10

Lima says:

The campaign is what you would expect of a social-led campaign — start the film with the product in case viewers don’t bother watching the ad, then try to hook viewers in with a light sketch comedy and there’s your campaign.

While the Coke “Turn up your break” campaign touched on the emotional truth of taking time for yourself to recharge and getting a Coke as a reward, for me the Nescafe campaign misses the mark for making the situations trivial, almost like the characters are just procrastinating getting on with their tasks. We also don’t get any of the benefits of new product range.

Rating: 6/10

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