The Barista is Naked!

A couple of days ago when I first came across the new Nestlé Bliss creamer campaign my first reaction was giggles and delight. I mean sex is still part of advertising’s holy trinity and it’s unlikely you will ever fail to grab some attention with a few perfectly shaped boobs and butts. Plus points for employing both male and female actors, too. (and no, we are not discussing sexism today)

Then I started to think. It is one thing that the idea is not exactly new, Carr’s got naked butlers to hand out free crackers with nothing but an apron in 2010 and a Dallas restaurant is about to launch the male version of Hooters just now. Channeling Bliss’ only natural ingredients certainly makes more sense from conceptual point of view, than merely trying to grab attention with well toned backsides.

My issues start with the need of putting sugar and natural flavour into an au naturel creamer. Sure, both ingredients are found in the nature but there are countless non-healthy, however natural ingredients one might pick. (You probably don’t want to add flavour – and cholesterol – with lard or poisonous mushrooms to get a little more extreme.)

So first of all, can we stop fooling customers with overusing the word natural and try to find something more meaningful, or heaven forbid focus on producing healthy food instead?

Secondly, campaigning to show just how natural Nestlé products are might very well backfire in the light of all the activities they don’t exactly approach in mother nature’s best interest. In reality, the #NoNestlé hashtag is still alive throughout Twitter and activist will be fast to recite the list that gets them angry.

Focusing on the value peaceful co-existence between humans and nature, several stands out.
In the 1970’s huge waves arose around their mother’s milk substitute and the aftermath is still ongoing. Marketing their product as a natural start in one of the fuels for modern day boycotters. The palm oil scandal, a bitter fight between GreenPeace and Nestlé on their use of the ingredient whose production is the primary cause for deforestation was the loudest in 20120. Nestlé has committed to using only “certified sustainable palm oil” by 2015 and while they deserve the benefit of the doubt – and I haven’t done a lot of research to find out what is the state of their supply chain today – there is no thorough, third party monitoring in place to determine whether they’ve succeeded. The most current negative PR Nestlé received is the consequence of the California draught. Refusing to stop producing bottled water that they pump from already dry and endangered areas, not to mention getting around regulations by draining springs in reservation areas, that are not obligated to supply any statistics of the actual amount of water being processed.

Is the new Bliss campaign fun? Sure, it did make me smile. Is promoting how natural a product is, when natural doesn’t necessarily mean healthier (sugar, heavy cream, etc., etc…) uncool? Undoubtedly, even if it’s hardly an unusual thing as of today. Should you build a campaign around being 100% natural when the company’s actions are everything but pro-nature? With a bit of integrity, absolutely not. Human beings as consumers are becoming smarter and more responsible. Even if we are still not the utopian world where everyone only buys products they have zero ethical problem with, it is approaching fast. Build a brand where you make even grand statements and own values with a crystal clear conscience. That, or get used to the thought of perishing slowly.