Nescafé gives students study break with “Instant Manga” app campaign

Digital marketing industry case study library

How do you sell coffee to people who are never really tired? Nescafe had this challenge when it tried to target the student market in China with and ‘Instant Manga’ study break app.


Case study summary

• Targeted college students during their most stressful time: finals

• Cloud note app Youdao showed short manga story

• Simple 30-second videogame let students to engage with the story and “save” classmates

• Reached 25 million college students nationwide with over 100,000 uploading and sharing their study notes with friends via the app


The challenge

Instant coffee has been around in China for a long time, and Nestlé has always been leading the category. While penetration and usage remains stable and high among 25-45 year-old audiences, younger demos ages 18-24 years old were not attracted to the category at all. And it makes sense too, as they are young and have endless energy!

Although these post-’90s youth are typically full of energy, they often feel stressed, especially when it comes to studying. As the only kid in many households, this younger generation is also expected to excel in school. The heightened stress -- aided by many late-night study sessions-- has led to their love of manga and games that provide them an alternative and free time to relax. So the idea was born to use the format students were most comfortable with and the added message: cheer up!

The solution

The 100 percent mobile campaign targeted college students during their most stressful time: finals. We wanted to give students the short break they deserve along with an energy boost. Nestlé worked with the cloud note app Youdao Cloud Note, that allows student to upload and share study notes with their friends. Within the app was a simple html5 page; once clicked, students were shown an entertaining short manga story about how sleepiness had dominated classrooms and they had to wake up by using study notes and coffee!

A simple 30-second videogame followed, allowing students to engage with the story and battle to “save” their classmates. At the end they could share their real study notes instead of the virtual ones in the game. Both the manga and the game were designed in sleek, black-and-white Japanese manga style.

The results

The simple, yet elegantly executed idea, had stunning results. The mini-site sent encouraging messages to more than 25 million college students nationwide. More than 100,000 students uploaded and shared their study notes with friends via the app.

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