Clooney’s ‘Quest’: 5 Questions With Nespresso CEO Guillaume Le Cunff

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Nespresso George Clooney

George Clooney is back with Nespresso in his first worldwide campaign. “The Quest” find Clooney suited up in armor to save a medieval kingdom before hitting the streets of New York City on a quest to find the kingdom’s most exceptional coffee. Natalie Dormer of “Game of Thrones” co-stars in the video.

“I’ve been working with Nespresso for many years and I’m thrilled to be back on set,” said Clooney. “This time I get to work with the very talented Natalie Dormer and live out my fantasy of playing the role of a medieval knight.”

“I’m a big Nespresso fan, and my family thinks it is very apt I am doing this commercial,” responded Dormer. “Working with George Clooney—what a dream come true! He is such a joy and he’s so funny. I’ve been enjoying his work for years, so finally getting to meet and work with him was fantastic.”

Clooney has worked with Nespresso since 2006, consistent in his endorsement of a sustainable brand committed to recycling and high quality coffee.

“Younger generations are now very invested in recycling, and as a whole, we are much more aware of our consumption,” said Clooney. “It’s important for companies to drive innovation to safeguard our planet’s future. Nespresso has really made it as easy as possible to recycle and I’m very happy and very proud to work for the company because of that.”

The campaign launches globally today in more than 30 countries and includes a 30-second film, “Really, George?’” featuring people at every stage of the coffee growing process, from an agronomist and coffee farmer to a Technoserve country manager and Nespresso coffee experts.

brandchannel spoke with Guillaume Le Cunff, President and CEO of Nespresso USA, about the new campaign.

What inspired the creative for this campaign, and did it take a lot of convincing for George Clooney to portray a knight?

Guillaume Le Cunff Nespresso

“The Quest” is inspired by Nespresso’s own tireless pursuit of excellence in delivering exceptional coffee experiences. The TV commercial, backed by Peter Gabriel’s “Solsbury Hill.” is set in a medieval castle and George plays an honorable knight to a formidable queen. After slaying a dragon to save the Queen’s kingdom, George is offered a reward, which sets him off on a quest to find something he truly desires. His pursuit takes him from a medieval court to the modern streets of New York, proving he will stop at nothing to find his beloved Nespresso.

This is the 12th year we have worked with George Clooney and each year he encapsulates the brand messages bringing smooth charm and humor to our advertising. We are thrilled to be working with him again this year.

How does George Clooney’s commitment to sustainability mirror Nespresso’s?

George is passionately and deeply involved in numerous social and environmental issues. Similarly, Nespresso’s vision is to create a cup of coffee that has a positive impact on the world. We believe each cup of coffee can not only deliver a moment of pleasure, but also restore, replenish and revive environmental resources and communities.

To achieve this, we embed our best-practice sustainability principles throughout our entire supply chain, from coffee sourcing to aluminum stewardship. George is an active participant in Nespresso’s sustainability efforts as a member of the Nespresso Sustainability Advisory Board.

What direct effect has Nespresso had on the farmers who grow the brand’s beans?

Smallholder coffee farmers are exposed to unacceptable levels of uncertainty and risk to their livelihoods, stemming chiefly from climate change and economic volatility. Through the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality Program—created in 2003 with the Rainforest Alliance—we lessen those risks, creating favorable conditions for over 70,000 farmers benefiting from training, the expert assistance of agronomists, premiums, plus a wealth of other pioneering initiatives.

For example, in Caldas, Colombia, we are piloting a climate insurance program with Blue Marble Micro-insurance to offer much needed insurance coverage to farmers when they experience weather-related impacts to their farms.

When did the concept of recycling bags enter the picture and how successful is it in use by your consumers? Is there a difference in attitude/usage between boomers and millennials?

We have been investing in our recycling program for more than 25 years at a global level, and today, we see the enthusiastic adoption of our programs by both boomers and millennials, alike.

In the US, we have partnered with UPS to offer consumers pre-paid recycling bags, so they can bring their bags of used capsules to one of 88,000 UPS drop-off locations or to one of 500 collection points located in Nespresso Boutiques and at select retail partners. Once capsules are collected, they are given a second life. The coffee grounds are either turned into nutrient-rich compost and topsoil or transformed into biogas. The aluminum is processed and, ultimately, reused to produce new products.  We also actively communicate to consumers to encourage participation in this program.

Nespresso George Clooney

What’s been the biggest challenge in the selling of portioned coffee to the public in light of increased awareness of sustainability and recycling?

Given our deep commitment to sustainability, we have seen the increased awareness of sustainability and recycling as an opportunity and differentiator for Nespresso, rather than a challenge.

When it comes to choices of coffee, the environmental performance of portioned coffee can actually be the same or even more environmentally friendly than other roast and ground options. Nespresso uses only the exact amount of coffee, energy and water that is needed to brew a single cup. This reduces the carbon footprint, as well as the food, energy and water waste, per serving.

That said, we are always looking to improve. One of our sustainability targets that we announced in 2010 is to reduce the carbon footprint of a cup of Nespresso by 28% by 2020, and we are well on our way with to achieving that goal.


Get more insights in our Q&A series.

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