Nespresso dancers
Nespresso dancers jive to the beats of Alison Wonderland.

“I walked into the marketing team’s office and said, ‘I want the launch be all about 25 year olds’; this is a product for 25-year-olds.”

Renaud Tinel, Nespresso Oceania general manager, is screaming above the noise being generated from myriad speakers belting a diverse set of pop, hip hop, deep bass and rap by talented Sydney DJ, the wonderfully named Alison Wonderland. Lights are flashing across the hall and the room has been seamlessly transformed from conservative appliance pow-wow into a trendy nightclub, complete with a centrally located bar island serving bespoke cocktails and a curated menu of bizarre and at times inedible canapes.

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Nespresso is launching its Inissia coffee machine, available in a range of colours with abstract names like Summer Sun, Vanilla Cream and Sky Blue. When I was first introduced to this latest release several weeks ago, the message was clear: this is an introductory Nespresso — a ‘My First Nespresso’ — and the goal is to get into as many Gen Y’s homes as possible; get them hooked on the capsule coffee system and make them evangelists for the brand.

This method is clearly working with Gen Xers. A PR contact of mine, who has actually done some work with a rival coffee brand, was telling me recently that he was a friend’s dinner party when, at the conclusion of the meal, the hosts brought out the Nespresso machine and started passing around a plate of pods. These capsules are beautifully packaged, both in their cardboard files and individually, so it is no surprise that these hosts were proud to showcase the various ‘grands crus’ available to their guests.

“I think I ended up having the ‘carpaccio’,” my PR friend said, obliquely referring to Arpeggio, which comes in a deep, navy blue. “It was such a wank!”

But this extra level of detail, to package the pods in a presentable form factor, to continually release new flavours with intricate back stories about pure origins from the home of coffee and other delicate pretensions are what drives Nespresso forward in Australia and comparable markets; why it has transcended ‘coffee brand’ to become a luxury lifestyle brand, leaving Lavazza in its coffee crema wake.

Surrounded by flashing lights and listening to hip music paid for by a Swiss multinational corporation doesn’t mean Nespresso gets the kids in and of itself, and while sipping my Burnt Summer Sun cocktail prepared by Sweet & Chilli, I couldn’t help but think that this is what older people think youngsters are into, rather than what they are actually doing. Still, everyone was having a rollicking good time and no doubt it will make the social pages of both Sunday tabloids. More instructive, however, was Tinel telling me that there was a concerted social media push, with Twitter, Instagram and Facebook targeted. There’s still a long way to go but it is much easier to have confidence in Nespresso having continued success than any rival challenging, especially when Lavazza and its machine partner Electrolux barely do any PR, let alone a glamorous launch event, despite being two of the biggest companies in the world.

Nespresso Pressing for the Younger Market Playlist
(selected tracks from last night’s Gen Y launch extravaganza)

Started From The Bottom – Drake
Need U (100%) – Duke Dumont & A*M*E
The Way You Move – OutKast
You Make Me – Avicii
212 – Azealia Banks & Lazy Jay
Gold Digger – Kanye West & Jamie Foxx
Hip Hop Holiday – 3 The Hard Way
Return Of The Mack – Mark Morrison

Nespresso Cocktail Selection
(prepared by Sweet & Chilli)

Nespresso cocktails
Nespresso’s cocktail menu for its Inissia launch.