How to make instant friends with coffee

Peter York On Ads: No 203: Nescafe
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Two c***s in a Kitchen" is the old admens' condescending phrase for those formulaic commercials featuring two women discussing a detergent, floor cleaner or modest processed foodstuff in an animated way at the heart of the house. These little 30-second theatricals observed all the unities. A problem - grey whites, greasy spills or soggy cereal - would be identified; one woman would tell the other the branded solution; resolution or even demonstration would follow, and it'd end with a pack shot.

At the other end of the scale, creative advertising folk are always looking for a dramatically new aesthetic - new ways of animating or computer- tricking-up their commercials to achieve a distinctive look for their clients, and amusement and awards for themselves.

The new Nescafe commercial combines the two. The look is a new-to-commercials animation with two-dimensional-looking dressing-doll characters that seem to derive from cut-ups of real photographs, all lips and eyes. It's set against Fifties-illustrator-type bright pastel backdrops. Very distinctive.

Woman 1, Chrissie, meets woman 2 in the street and invites her round. Woman 2 asks whether Woman 1's still serving the same coffee. On learning that she is, instead of the old-style "Oh dear, I'd forgotten we're going to Bognor for several months," there's a new surrealistic rudeness, viz "Oh dear, I've lost my memory ... I'm sorry, I haven't the faintest idea of who you are."

The on-screen moral is, if you're serving coffee, better make sure it's Nescafe or you'll die friendless. It's accompanied by a Nescafe pack shot, and by a red branded mug that looks like a leftover from the immortal Seventies Nescafe Gareth Hunt ads. It's an ingenious and funny way of addressing the problem Nestle have with uppity modern women, who think of buying cheaper supermarket own-brand instantly-soluble solids instead of theirs.