6 Marketing Lessons from a Coffee Commercial

The biggest strength of a stammering comedian is…

SUSPENSE!

– declares the protagonist of Nescafé’s latest YouTube ad. The video has become a runaway success in India and elsewhere, with nearly 3 million views in less than a fortnight. I’ll give you two minutes to watch it if you haven’t… (No coffee needed!)

It’s a superb example of the use of the elements of surprise and irony in a single video. Add to that, the emotional appeal, and it was a guaranteed success even before it got started.

Where there is a viral video, there is a marketing lesson.

As marketers, we tend to watch commercials more closely than (I dare say unlike) regular people. Needless to say, we’re looking for the lessons (or to pass judgement) rather than information. So, quickly— what can we learn from this video and its viral spread?

Famous face not required

The quality of your product matters. More than that, the intensity of your message matters. The protagonist in this video is hardly a well-known face. He’s the quintessential “nobody.” But does that matter in the context of the video? Does it dilute the delivery of the message? On the contrary, it makes it more powerful – with a bit of coffee (and implied hard work), even a stammering comedian gets thunderous applause.

Emotional appeal always works

No second guessing this. “I am also stubborn,” asserts the guy, and continues to tell his joke in the face of shutting doors and audiences with rolling eyes.

We as marketers can relate to this. We are constantly looking for problems to solve, obstacles to overcome. But with small and targeted improvements, we get better data, better insights, and probably end up that bit more creative (and stubborn) with every passing campaign.

Cheap publicity not required

The whole video has a classy touch to it. There are comedians (and campaigns) who prefer to take the offensive route. Not needed. You don’t need to rope in seductive ladies either. Look for a message delivery style that appeals to – and can be appreciated by – everyone. You will find it.

Don’t just tag it, hashtag it

Nescafé added the #ItAllStarts hashtag to the title of the video. No prizes for guessing it started trending on Twitter soon. Whether to assign your social posts a hashtag or not is no longer a question to be debated. Naming one should be an integral part of the campaign brainstorming process.

You hit the jackpot if an influencer can relate to it

@GabbbarSingh is a parody account of Bollywood’s most notorious villain. He’s got no less than 133k followers. And it turned out that this bloke could relate to the video! So he went ahead and tweeted it, garnering 55 retweets, 15 favorites and 45 replies in the process.

And you know what? He didn’t forget the hashtag.

Don’t forget your product

In all the passion of crafting and editing your ad, and making it appealing to your audience, the one thing that must never take backstage is your product or service. Of course a big brand such as Nescafé is not going to make this fundamental mistake. The comedian is shown making and drinking Nescafé – while preparing and performing his act alike. He always has the branded mug towards the camera. So does his audience. He reminds us of the benefits of coffee too (keeps you going, keeps you awake).

Finally, he doesn’t forget to end with the brand punchline “Let’s get started!”

Please tell me about your favorite viral videos in the comments.