Beckham Gives Nespresso a Shot as New Brand Partner But There's a Problem

Jason Papp
December 26, 2023

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James Hoffmann says “making espresso at home is a lot”. And Rory Sutherland defended his Nespresso machine in our joint interview (read it here), saying “I have three for one simple purpose: First thing in the morning, I am not in the mood to do anything complicated. I get a fast, effective caffeine hit.”

George Clooney stepped up as Nespresso’s smooth ambassador in 2006. And in 2013, Campaign reported that Nespresso was set to ‘drop the Hollywood star’, but he’s still going strong. 

Way back in 2010, four years into the Clooney x Nespresso partnership, The Guardian announced that Nespresso enjoyed a 35.5% sales growth in the UK. They said, “Figures released by parent company Nestlé showed the business growing 22% globally and by an even steeper 35.5% in Britain during 2009. It is Nestle's fastest-growing business.”

These figures came after that famous TV-centric ad campaign. Do you remember it? Clooney, outwitted by a beautiful woman who’s sole focus is grabbing the last cup of coffee from under his nose. 

Shot in Italy, it was created by the Paris arm of global agency, McCann. Screened across Europe, the campaign wasn’t shown in the US. A clever compromise for the Hollywood ace looking to bag a bit of extra cash without diluting his credentials at home (that’s $40m in extra cash since 2013). 

Nespresso's marketing strategy has always been to be the super-premium coffee brand. And McCann Paris said of the challenge, “At the end of 2007, Nespresso and its agency faced a double strategic communications challenge in its most mature markets and in new markets. As a response to this challenge, the Nespresso George Clooney II campaign was summed up in a simple, straightforward, easy-to-remember claim.”

They say the tagline, Nespresso. What else? set out to convey:

  1. Superiority
  2. Prestige 
  3. Strong association between Clooney and Nespresso

The creative strategy was based on comparing George Clooney with Nespresso, to show that Nespresso is preferred over the star.

“The communications strategy offered consumers an unforgettable media experience."

McCann Paris said that "In all markets, TV was prioritised to deliver massive support in order to build awareness and to create highly-emotional contacts among a large population of coffee drinkers." Magazines, OOH and the Internet were also included in the mix to bring the brand closer to the lifestyles of bons vivants and independent design addicts.

In fact, with his famous tagline, Nespresso, what else? Clooney has repeatedly delivered on ROI but as consumer's media consumption and perception of value changes, future-proofing is needed.

And so David Beckham was announced as Nespresso's new brand partner. If it ain't broke don’t fix it, as they say. And Beckham can plug a gap that Clooney simply cannot. Socials. 

One thing that’s changed since 2006 is where people’s attention is bought. Arguably, traditional TV ads are in decline. In fact, in 2018, The New York Times shared stats on the cracks starting show in TV advertising. And that was before TikTok took off.

Social is sovereign. And social media pulling power is Beckham’s forte. Something Clooney hasn’t made the most of. Clooney’s fan pages command a far greater following on Instagram than his official page. Beckham’s social media presence is a whole different story. His team has got it on lock. Family posts, food, adventures and of course, his sponsored brand posts: Maserati, Adidas, EA Sports and now Nespresso beamed to his 85 million fans following along on Instagram alone. 

Since debuting his partnership with Nespresso via an Instagram reel yesterday, it has been watched 4.8 million times. What’s going to be interesting to see is how they progress with the campaign. What’s the media mix going to be? 

Social is something Gary Vee will always advocate (partly because that's his bag). In our recent interview with him and his EMEA MD, Daisy Domenghini, he says of social media - ‘“More stuff will be sold today because of social media ads than anything else in the world.”

But, I can’t help but think a huge opportunity was missed here. An opportunity to solidify authenticity from the outset. Why didn’t this coincide with the Netflix documentary? 

David Beckham in his Stainless Steel Kitchen Stroking His La Marzocco Coffee Machine - Image Courtesy of Netflix

In the new promos, David says he’s always been a fan of Nespresso at home. But what was sat in his kitchen during the documentary? A beautiful, massive La Marzocco  espresso machine. So beautiful in fact, the question 'What kind of espresso machine does David Beckham use?' was a trending search. Does Beckham drink Nespresso every day? I’m not sold. But if I can do my best to ignore that detail, seeing an iconic, likeable celebrity swimmingly adopt a product into their personal time, it is super powerful, reinforcing trust. 

With his appreciation for coffee, evident in the documentary, this could be the start of something special. Could he improve the taste of the product? Could Nespresso work on a design Beckham personally puts his name to? Is Beckham the new George Foreman of coffee machines? 

“This coffee is so good, I put my name on it.” 

Maybe their budget doesn’t cover that. 

But aside from the timing, the partnership has the potential to become as famed as Clooney’s and tap into a new market. A little more down to earth. After all, it’s just a bit of old ground coffee in a capsule offering up around half the weight of a conventional espresso shot. 

Could we see Beckham and Clooney sipping Nespresso together whilst practising freekicks? All will be revealed. 

One thing is for sure. If their agencies can double down on helping us buy into Beckham choosing Nespresso every morning over his La Marzocco, then I am excited to see where this will go. 

Anna Lundstrom, CEO Nespresso UK & ROI said, “It is truly an unforgettable moment to be able to officially welcome David Beckham as a new Nespresso brand partner. David Beckham has such iconic style, taste and passion for creating elevated experiences, which are many of the qualities of Nespresso. We are so excited to partner with David as he shares his genuine love for the UK’s favourite beverage.”

Why is the Beckham x Nespresso a good partnership?

Without speculating, here’s my take on why it will work (in addition to Beckham’s social media reach and likeability) 

Global Appeal

Beckham's international fame and recognition can attract a wide audience to Nespresso, helping the brand tap into various markets and demographics. His popularity transcends gender, generation and the like. 

Lifestyle Association

Beckham is a family man, a business professional, a husband, an ambassador for charities, and, of course, is known for his sophisticated and stylish lifestyle. This is a perfect fit for the enduring premium image of Nespresso. 


Beckham sharing his genuine coffee moments can create a sense of authenticity and relatability. If Nespresso can twist his arm to replace the La Marzocco with their machine, then a celebrity is seen enjoying the product in real life will reinforce consumer trust.

Diversity in Brand Representation

Following George Clooney, Beckham represents a different demographic and style, potentially appealing to a broader or newer audience.

Mindfulness and Wellness

Beckham's emphasis on mindfulness aligns with a growing consumer interest in wellness and taking time for you, which can be symbolised through the ritual of making and enjoying a cup of Nespresso coffee (for many). I personally prefer a pour over and you can find my perfect pour over recipe here.

What could the ROI of Beckham X Nespresso partnership look like?

- Sales Growth: Nespresso may see an increase in sales due to Beckham's influence and the exposure he brings.

- Brand Reinforcement: Nespresso's brand as a premium coffee choice could be strengthened through association with Beckham's luxurious and high-quality image.

- New Products: There could be a launch of limited-edition products or flavours inspired by Beckham, creating buzz and exclusivity. (Golden pods??)

- Sustainability Focus: If Beckham advocates for sustainability — a value that Nespresso has been promoting — it could improve the brand's image in terms of corporate social responsibility. Because, not everyone is sold on Nespresso being somehow sustainable or even that Nestlé is B Corp, but that’s a different article. 

- Interactive Campaigns: The collaboration might lead to interactive marketing campaigns, such as social media drives, meet-and-greet events, or personal storytelling, where Beckham shares his coffee-related experiences.

All being said and done, despite the planet seeing the UK as tea capital of the world, in 2023, the UK officially became a certified nation of coffee lovers, with the number of coffee drinkers (63%) eclipsing the centuries of tea fanatics (59%) - unless a chocolate digestive is thrown in. Just saying. 

Will this partnership, leveraging Beckham's influence coupled with a strong narrative, move the needle even further towards coffee? We will have to wait and see. 

Jason Papp
Founder & Editor-in-chief