Promoting peace and coffee pods: George Clooney, Nespresso Activist

Gulam, Joshua (2019) Promoting peace and coffee pods: George Clooney, Nespresso Activist. In: The Political Economy of Celebrity Activism. Popular Culture and World Politics . Routledge, London, pp. 85-99. ISBN 9781138675681

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This chapter asks what is at stake in the pairing of Nespresso with a celebrity activist like George Clooney. Through close analysis of Clooney’s Nespresso promotions, in addition to a range of film and publicity texts, it considers the complex exchange of meanings between the multibillion-dollar coffee brand and the Hollywood actor. In what ways do Clooney’s Nespresso advertisements complicate and/or consolidate the meanings associated with his humanitarian image? And how has the star’s involvement helped to legitimise the practices of Nespresso and its parent company? Overall, then, this chapter contributes to a growing body of scholarship that examines the political economic tensions of celebrity activism. Specifically, it explores the tensions that exist between the celebrity as branded commodity, on the one hand, and their charitable and political activities, on the other. At each stage of the analysis, the chapter is concerned with how such tensions are resolved, and to what extent this works to reproduce hegemonic capitalist inequality.

The chapter begins by examining what the involvement of Clooney communicates about the Nespresso brand. This section looks in detail at Nespresso’s branding as an ‘ethical’ company and the role that Clooney plays in furthering these promotional claims. A second section explores the complex ways in which Clooney’s Nespresso ambassadorship intersects with his appearances in a series of anti-corporate films, including Up in the Air (2009) and Michael Clayton (2007). Here, I consider how the star has sought to frame his endorsements in ways that are consistent with both his on-screen roles and his off-screen campaigning.

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information and Comments: This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in "The Political Economy of Celebrity Activism" in August 2019, available online:
Keywords: Celebrity humanitarianism; George Clooney; Nespresso; Nestlé; Coffee; Sustainability; Michael Clayton; Up in the Air
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > School of Creative and Performing Arts
Depositing User: Joshua Gulam
Date Deposited: 05 Dec 2019 16:16
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2019 12:50

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