Has Nescafé woken up and smelt the coffee or landed itself in hot water?

As an office full of coffee lovers, Nescafé is one of our favourite brands to follow on Twitter. So imagine our surprise when we read the news that the instant coffee giant was ditching its website in favour of Tumblr – we nearly choked on our cuppa!

The company announced on Thursday that it was set to get rid of its traditional website in favour of Tumblr, the micro-blogging and social media platform popular among much sought-after millennials (and fans of Benedict Cumberbatch).

Apparently the move has been prompted by a desire to build stronger relationships with consumers as well as boosting ecommerce sales. We get that. According to Statista, Tumblr has 230m active users and is more popular than Facebook among 13-25-year olds. But the fact that people are lauding this as a first for a global brand prompted us to ask one question – why has it never been done before?

“What we’re really talking about today is the death of the traditional dot com.” Michael Chrisment, Nescafé’s global head of integrated marketing

Now we’re all for breaking new ground and everything, but we can’t help but feel like this is a risky move for Nescafé. Michael Chrisment, Nescafé’s global head of integrated marketing, might be on to something when he says that the marketing landscape is “moving into something that is much more integrated”. But then he would say that – it’s in his job title.

There is no doubt that Tumblr is the perfect platform to engage with younger audiences and to build a co-creative environment with consumers. But does it really require the sacrifice of traditional websites? Instead, why not transform the traditional website into something that more reflects this hub of user-generated content?

In fact, we don’t think there is such a thing as a “traditional website”. Compare the website of your favourite brand now with its predecessor from 2005 – or even 2010 – and it will be unrecognisable. This is because brands have realised that consumers engage with online content in completely new ways now, largely driven by the global domination of mobile devices.

Nestlé obviously feels like Nescafé is the perfect guinea pig for this experiment, as it’s currently the most popular on social media among the Swiss giant’s stable of food and drink brands. But while social popularity is a good indication of brand loyalty among consumers, we don’t think the website has quite had its day just yet.

September 18, 2015 - This article was written by Jenny Woolley

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