The successful campaign for NESCAFÉ Alegria worth 1 million smiles

This is the story of the successful “Good Thoughts” campaign in which NESCAFÉ Alegria connected emotionally with their fans by allowing them to send each other a wishful thought printed on the coffee cups. Read our story and find out how we generated more than 1 million smiles. We often take things for granted and overlook the small moments or objects that bring us unconditional joy. There are few moments a day when we allow ourselves to break away from routine, but many times those times are not appreciated enough. To bring these moments to life, NESCAFÉ Alegria spurred the fans to connect to each other and smile, through the “Good Thoughts” campaign using the coffee cups with printed messages.

NESCAFÉ Alegria creates fresh designs for their coffee cups every year, especially during the winter holidays. So the question in everyone’s minds was naturally: How can we make our fans resonate with our design and further fall in love with NESCAFÉ Alegria?

We’ve always wanted to reach out to the NESCAFÉ Alegria consumers through a unique campaign that would strengthen our relationship with the coffee lovers. Therefore, we combined the product package and our digital assets to give consumers the means to make the entire country smile while enjoying NESCAFÉ Alegria. We believe that 17 million coffee cups bearing the #goodthoughts messages is not a small number. Further on, we will keep using the digital tools to create emotional connections with people who take a moment of relaxation every day and enjoy a coffee from the NESCAFÉ Alegria machines. We wish to give them reasons to smile, to be grateful not just for a delicious cup of coffee, but also for turning their moment into a boost of happiness.

Corina Iordache | Digital Communication Specialist at Nestlé


We loved the idea of sending a short, motivational message through the coffee cups, that would make people smile.

Next we wanted to believe that we can convince people to send similar messages to their friends or loved ones all across the country. From there on there was no looking back. We would take the first step in this experience and measure how much our enthusiasm would be amplified by the  NESCAFÉ Alegria consumers.

We knew there would be many challenges ahead, but we put high stakes on a user-generated content campaign. If implemented correctly, this type of campaign can score high on many charts:

  1. They are time and budget effective. The content is generated by the users.
  2. The communication is authentic, believable, builds trust and strengthens the relationship between the user and the brand.
  3. Users in the Generation Z category resonate well with various types of content, especially the one they create themselves.


Our aim was to bring our fans closer and send pleasant emotions to them. Those who answered the call were able to send a kind message to people from across the country. Moreover, the NESCAFÉ Alegria brand awareness would grow organically.


The campaign unfolded during December 2016 and May 2017, in two phases:


First, we came up with a series of optimistic messages that we printed on a specially designed NESCAFÉ Alegria coffee cups. We directed the consumers to access the campaign web page. The landing page was integrated within the website, the multi-brand platform through which Nestlé reaches to its users and rewards their loyalty.

This is where the users were able to view nice one-liners, or good thoughts, from other NESCAFÉ Alegria fans, as well as send their own cheerful messages.

During phase two, we selected the most appreciated messages, from those we received from our users. They were printed on the NESCAFÉ Alegria paper cups. This way, all those who enjoyed their morning coffee and felt inspired by these messages were invited to give back smiles using the landing page created for the campaign.


The Campaign came with a series of challenges that we faced head on and through a lot of hard work. For example, one of the biggest questions was how to choose the name for the campaign. In the end we decided on ‘Simple things can bring big smiles’. In order to decide upon this tag line, we went through hours of research and brainstorming. Within two weeks, we had three alternative tag lines: “life is beautiful”, “live now or not at all” and “simple things make life beautiful”. To choose the final message, we spent hours debating and tested the three versions on friends and strangers, in return for a free cup of coffee.

It was a real challenge for me to pick one concept out of the three finalists. I had fallen in love with ‘life is beautiful’. However, every time I asked around, people told me that it is the ‘simple things that bring big smiles’ and went on to tell their stories. They opened up about the feeling brought on by the first morning coffee or how they love the scent of a freshly printed book or a little compliment on a bad day.

Andreea Marinciu | Content Manager at Grapefruit​

Logistic challenges were also on our tails. The time estimated for printing the paper cups was six weeks, so we had to move really quickly between the two phases of the campaign. It was really important that the batch of cups showing the user messages would be on the market at the beginning of spring. Moreover, the paints we chose for printing the words came in limited supplies. That is why we had to be really creative in choosing the colors for the print, to make sure we could successfully print all the messages.

Although it looked simple, compared to all the work we did, selecting only 100 messages was really difficult. After all, the users sent over 1500 messages in the campaign.


To make the campaign viral, we conducted a very thorough idealization and testing effort. After finding the main message, we went on to explaining it. We spent entire days browsing the motivational sub-Reddit, to read stories from people who cherish simple things. We were looking for a butterfly effect. Like a butterfly that flaps its wings can create a hurricane later. This was our campaign’s core, the kernel through which we transmitted the brand’s values, the joy of good coffee and brought a smile on people’s faces on a cold day.

We fell in love with the idea and made long lists of the small things that make us happy. We also asked our beloved ones what made them feel motivated. They all agreed: a whole hearted hug or a compliment costs little, but it could brighten someone’s day.

The work for creating the paper cup design was no piece of cake either. We created multiple prototypes, we tested and adjusted. We created a large series of mock-ups, by sticking the printed paper strips on the coffee cups to test if the messages can be viewed easily.

It was important that no matter the side the coffee machine dispensed the paper cup, the users should be tented to turn it all the way round to view the message.

With every mock-up, we monitored that the website link was visibly printed on the cups.

The campaign landing page was created mobile first. It makes a lot of sense, because we wanted people to be able to access it as they had their NESCAFÉ Alegria coffee, on the go.

Even though the campaign revolved around the joy of simple things, we paid much attention to details, as we usually do, so we could not design the landing page otherwise:

  • The cat on the cup: in the winter batch, it says MEOW! On the spring cups, the cat had grown and evolved, so it said RAWR!
  • We analyzed the Social Media posts, and observed that many people took pictures of their NESCAFÉ Alegria cups inside the car. That is why we added a car element in the paper cup design, in phase two of the campaign.
  • To make the messages believable, we decided to add the name and home city of the user, along with their message, on the coffee cups.

The first batch of cups displayed a total of 20 messages designed to make people smile. To reach the perfect 20 messages, we created lists of over 500 messages, which we analyzed down to the letter. Our inspiration came from YouTube videos, Reddit and a few children’s books.

Following the first batch of messages, we achieved what we had set out for: the butterfly effect. The people answered the bright messages on the cups by sending other good thoughts.

We had created a hurricane! People answered our messages by 20 times more! We received on average 30 to 40 messages per day, to read and approve for publication on the website.
Some people sent original messages, created on the spot, others chose proverbs or lyrics of their favorite songs, whatever made their day brighter.

The “Good thoughts” campaign in numbers

We mainly interacted with the NESCAFÉ Alegria fans through the Campaign’s Social Media pages, the landing page, as well as the Facebook and Instagram accounts owned by NESCAFÉ Alegria.

Our focus was raising the NESCAFÉ Alegria brand notoriety, so we measured the impact of the good thoughts we sent, by two criteria:

The number of impressions is highly important in a brand awareness campaign, because it measures the number of times the messages reached the visitor’s eye.

Over the two phases of the campaign, the number of daily views for the main message was over 800.000, for an average of over 400.000 viewers. 

On Facebook, the number of users who interacted with the campaign messages exceeded 200.000. At the end of the campaign, the Facebook page had 6000 more fans.

But perhaps, our greatest reward was the hundreds of posts on Facebook and Instagram, of the people who read the messages on the cups and had a better day from there on. The photos depicted themselves with the campaign coffee cups and were accompanied by the #ganduribune hashtag.

Given the numbers and the fans’ reactions, we strongly believe that our premise, “Simple things can bring big smiles” was entirely validated.

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