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This new Nespresso ad is a George Clooney prank on all of us, right?

The Oscar-winning actor joins Natalie Dormer in the coffee brand’s latest big-budget head scratcher.

This new Nespresso ad is a George Clooney prank on all of us, right?

George Clooney is back with a Nespresso coffee in hand in a new commercial costarring Game of Thrones‘s Natalie Dormer. It starts with him dressed as an American-accented knight, then veers into a breaking-the-fourth-wall fantasy. Before we go any further, it’s just best that you watch it in all its unabashed dorkiness.

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Created by agency McCann, this follow up to last year’s “Comin’ Home” sure looks great. It clearly didn’t skimp on talent, production design, or music licensing. But the sum total of those investments is what I imagine might pop up if you typed “bloated budget celebrity commercial” into McCann’s AI creative director. I mean, Peter Gabriel’s “Solsbury Hill”?

Watching this makes me feel like Bobby Moynihan’s Danny DeVito when SNL spoofed an earlier entry in the Clooney Nespresso canon. Just that feeling of, this is coffee, right? We’re talking about coffee? WHAT IS HAPPENING? I mean, at least “Comin’ Home” had Clooney bouncing around through different classic movie sets. Sure, nobody on the planet ever–besides Andy Garcia in this ad–has ever said or will ever say, “It’s a perfect Nespresso morning here,” but it was all cute enough, and hey, there were Muppets. But this new one is full-on Mugatu territory.

I have a theory, though. You guys, I think we’re all getting pranked. Clooney is a notorious prankster. He’d put buckets of water over Julia Roberts’s doorway. He found a painting in the garbage, framed, signed it, and gave it to his buddy Richard Kind for his 40th birthday. He put a bumper sticker on Brad Pitt’s car that was a pot leaf and the words, “Fuck cops.” But over the years, he’s developed more long-tail pranks that take months, even years, to reveal themselves. Back in 2015, Clooney told Graham Norton that he wrote many, many letters to many celebrities on fake Brad Pitt stationary and would wait up to a year to tell either party about it.

These Nespresso ads hark back to the secret foreign commercial days, when celebrities would go to Japan or elsewhere to cash in on ads largely unseen by North American audiences. The only explanation can be that it’s part of some grand prank on either all of us, Nespresso’s marketing budget, or both. If not, to quote SNL’s spoof tagline, “Nespresso: What?

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About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity. He lives in Toronto.

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