It’s the drug du jour and a product represented by brands creatives both imbibe and gag to work on. For consumers, it’s about as emotive as a commodity can become. So how have creative executions changed, influenced and been influenced by and for coffee?

First up, two gems that any top list with an historical aspect won’t be complete without: the embarrassingly sexist look to yesteryear and the Leonetto Cappiello poster.

Cappiello’s posters adorn the walls of many a cafe, kitchen and office space. Whether a function of history’s hindsight or simple brilliance, he blurred art and advertising:

We did want to stick to a single ‘gratuitous oversexualisation of a commodity product’ ad, but couldn’t. So we stuck to one brand. Lavazza not only takes the cake, but bakes it and coats it in euphemistic icing, in the following sample:

The brand goes some of the way to redeeming itself with ‘sexuality justified by country of origin’ allusions in its Romulus, Remus and the She-Wolf image below:

And it finds its feet again in this cloying Italian romanticism. Note the nod to Venice, the question of whether the flood is of coffee or water and the sculpture’s choice of beverage.

Then of course there’s the rising juggernaut of instant espresso – Nespresso. Going against the tide of cafe coffee and bringing it back to home or office preparation – as well as quietly bucking the trend away from physical distribution networks – Nespresso played its sponsorship dollars well using powerful symbolism and intelligent media placement.

For sheer cleverness, if not taste, we have to hand it to Finnish McDonald’s for this piece of work:

And finally, one from home, for bean roasters and Australian cafe pioneers Campos by y concept design.

Now we’re sure we’ve missed your favourite brand or execution, and there really is a wealth of SME coffee marketing out there… perhaps a list to come? Let us know your thoughts.