Penguins from Café Royal: Lazy marketers steal Nespresso’s positioning

Penguins from Café Royal: Lazy marketers steal Nespresso’s positioning
Have you seen it, Robbie Williams as the new face of Nespresso? Only later you realize that it’s not about Nespresso but about Café Royal. The brand is almost taking over the complete positioning of Nespresso and hiding it behind a light caricature that doesn’t deceive us at least. The blatant imitation of Nespresso makes Café Royal our Penguin of the Month.

Merkelijkheid stands for remarkable brands. Brands that distinguish themselves with a unique positioning: their own remarkable story. Brands that don’t want to be penguins, a swimming bird that can’t fly, look identical, and exhibit extreme herd behavior. The penguin is an example of how not to do it, even for brands. The penguin of the month is reserved for the brand that behaves the most like a penguin.

It won’t surprise you that Café Royal is taking this honor, but what do we see when we look at this brand?

We see a tough man in a penguin outfit who surrounds himself with beautiful women who want something from him. What they want from him; his cup of espresso or something more..? We see a minimalist house style in which the color black predominates and colorful capsules.

Positioning of Nespresso and Café Royal almost identical

The marketers of Café Royal undoubtedly thought: “if you can’t beat them, join them”. With a humorous twist, they try to give the brand a bit of its own identity, but in our opinion, far too little. The Café Royal marketers will say that ‘bad boy’ Robbie Williams is a different persona than the sexy, clean George Clooney, but who are they trying to fool? In our opinion, this me-too strategy shows little creativity, and the slight teasing of the market leader doesn’t fool anyone.

positionering nespresso gestolen door café royal

In any case dressed as a penguin.

Merkelijkheid likes to have a cup of Nespresso in the office, although it has more to do with convenience than with Clooney. We will definitely walk straight past the Café Royal shelf in the supermarket.

If you want to know more about positioning and how to get started with it yourself, read our Positioning page, where you will find in-depth articles as well as dozens of examples and models for every possible positioning challenge.

Bestel het boek