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How Nespresso Turned a New York City Elevator into a Mini Café

“Ultimately, the idea here was we have this newish machine, and we know it’s small. We know there’s an opportunity for this to let people appreciate the size of it on their countertops. So let’s just dramatize that aspect of it, and start putting these machines in small spaces to demonstrate that functional attribute.”

–Stephen Kill, Marketing Director, Nespresso USA

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Commuters were surprised and delighted to find an elevator cafe on their way up to the office.

Nespresso is taking its “There’s Always Room for Great Coffee” campaign messaging seriously. And literally. On March 7, to showcase the functional features of its smallest coffee machine, Vertuo Pop, the brand transformed an elevator at New York’s One World Trade Center into the stylish, two-person Vertuo Pop Café. From the lobby to the 64th floor, commuters riding up to their offices were treated to a quick demo of the machine and a hot espresso, latte or coffee to go. Talk about an elevator pitch.

Here’s how it worked: Nespresso partnered with One World Trade Center to slow down the express elevator to the 64th floor so that the ride took 45 seconds from the time the doors closed to the top. Typically, two people at a time could participate in the mini café experience. Guiding the experience was a barista from one of Nespresso’s boutique coffee shops, who offered a quick bite of info—either how the Vertuo Pop works, or how the brand created the tiny coffee shop—along with a hot beverage, which took 30 seconds to brew.

craigellachie-teaserMore on Micro-Experiences:

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The stylish cafe was crafted in partnership with editors from Architectural Digest.

The sleek little café was inspired by the Pop machine itself, including a pink color scheme and reflective, wall-mounted spheres, which were inspired by the capsules that are used to brew Vertuo coffee. Meanwhile, ample curved edges and ribbing mimicked the shape and textures of the machine.

The brand teamed up with Condé Nast, whose offices are located at One World Trade, to pull off the activation. The idea was to leverage the design chops of editors from Architectural Digest to craft the café’s premium look, and to drive awareness of the Nespresso’s Vertuo line of coffee machines among the publication’s sophisticated audience.

“Pop is our lowest-price Vertuo machine, so it is going to be a workhorse for us,” says Stephen Kill, marketing director at Nespresso USA. “But how do we continue to not do that at the expense of brand credentials? So we had to continue to try to elevate the brand and that’s where Architectural Digest played that dual role of the paid portion with the reach, but also them giving us the design credibility.”

This isn’t the first, or last, time Nespresso will be popping up in small, unexpected places. The brand launched its first Pop Café last August at the Santa Monica Pier, where it took over a gondola on the Pacific Ferris wheel and turning it into a mini cafe, complete with a barista serving up iced coffee. Looking ahead, Nespresso aims to take the Vertuo Pop Café concept to a variety of U.S. cities in the coming months.

“We need to be in markets where the biggest opportunity exists for the brand. So we’ve done a lot of analysis on where we may be underdeveloped, where the biggest potential is for us to grow,” Kill says. “It’s an opportunity to create a presence where we may not have a boutique or something else. And this size format really plays well no matter where you are.” Agencies: nmbl; Invisible North.

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Nespresso enlisted one of its trained coffee specialists to guide the experience.

Photo credit: Kelsey Rose

Kait Shea
Posted by Kait Shea

Kait joined EM in 2015 and today enjoys her role as senior editor, digital content. When she’s not in reporter mode, rocking mermaid pants at Comic-Con or running laps at MWC Barcelona, you can find her at home listening to music.
View all articles by Kait Shea →

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