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“The fact is, that Turks can’t live without coffee…” the introduction of Nescafé into Turkey (1952-1987)

Yavuz Köse (Department of Near Eastern Studies, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria)

Journal of Historical Research in Marketing

ISSN: 1755-750X

Article publication date: 16 July 2019

Issue publication date: 22 August 2019

1198

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to investigate the introduction of Nescafé, a brand of the Swiss multinational company Nestlé, into the Turkish market and examines the formative period (1952-1987) before it succeeded to become the most popular and leading coffee brand in Turkey. By that it aims to draw attention to Turkey as an interesting case in point for the study of the history of marketing practices in a non-Western context.

Design/methodology/approach

This study deploys a variety of largely unexplored material ranging from archival sources to newspaper reports and advertisements. In the first part, archival sources provided by the Nestlé archives (AHN) will be analyzed to present the company’s marketing strategy. As the amount on advertisements between 1952 and 1984 remained modest, the second part is devoted to the analysis of Turkish media reports to discuss Nescafé’s public perception.

Findings

The paper demonstrates that during the period under consideration the instable political and economic environment was pivotal for Nescafé’s marketing. Nestlé in the early years used similar strategies as in the West advertising Nescafé as a premium product for the upper middle-class. Due to import restrictions, it was a scarce and high-priced product. Nescafé succeeded to become a highly esteemed and sought-after product because it stood for Western modernity and prosperity. The study argues that it was not primarily Nestlé’s marketing that resulted in Nescafé’s considerable brand recognition but its public “visibility” through media reporting.

Research limitations/implications

This study is a preliminary attempt to investigate the history of instant coffee and its marketing in a non-Western market. The paper is mainly focused on Nescafé because it was and still is the most important brand in Turkey. Further, this paper brings into spotlight a country with distinct sociopolitical and cultural particularities which distinguish it from Western countries and allow to scrutinize how marketing practice and thought may develop in a non-Western setting. Further research is needed as Turkey's specific marketing environment is far from being thoroughly investigated.

Originality/value

By focusing on Turkey, this paper provides an insight into the specific ways Nescafé was marketed, consumed and perceived in a non-Western market. By that it allows to consider how multinational companies responded and adapted to a culturally, politically and economically challenging environment.

Keywords

Citation

Köse, Y. (2019), "“The fact is, that Turks can’t live without coffee…” the introduction of Nescafé into Turkey (1952-1987)", Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, Vol. 11 No. 3, pp. 295-316. https://doi.org/10.1108/JHRM-03-2018-0012

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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