Award Winning

Best Inter-Company Engagement – The Trojan Coffee Mug

Client: Capgemini
Award: Best Inter-Company Engagement


In preparation of a major project, Capgemini Norway needed to recruit many new software developers, specialized in the programming language Java. However, that’s easier said than done. The demand for software developers in Norway is huge. Developers are constantly hunted by scores of headhunters and recruiters to the point where they are disabling their LinkedIn profiles and refusing to accept calls from unknown numbers. 

In their own words, “We are sick and tired of being spammed.” 

In order to succeed we had to manage to contact someone actively trying not to be contacted. We also had to deliver a message that they didn’t want to receive, in a way that would make them see Capgemini in a positive light. 


We resorted to the oldest trick in the book. A trojan horse – a physical product that could sneak our message past their defenses and reveal itself while they were at their most approachable. 

Posing as fellow Java developers with a passion for coffee, we created the website where we told the story of a pre-kickstarter hobby project: An especially mild coffee blend tailored for developers sick of drinking bad coffee. Made from Java beans of course. 

Using software developer lingo, we asked other Norwegian developers on Reddit and LinkedIn if they wanted to test the coffee for free. 

If they could pass a Java riddle on the site, and thus prove that they too were software developers, they’d be able to leave their address so we could send them a bag of our special coffee. 

… We promised to even throw in our very special coffee mug 

… our very special Trojan coffee mug! 

When filled with hot coffee, the heat-sensitive mug would reveal a mysterious message alongside a QR code. When scanned, the QR-code redirected to Capgemini’s content platform where we revealed our plot to get their attention (whilst apologizing for the deception) and told them what it was like working at Capgemini and showed them the job advertisement. 

After the plot was revealed, we launched the second phase of the campaign. A rebranding of with Capgemini’s logo. Developers could still order a sample of the coffee for free. In exchange, we only asked for consent to contact them directly about our need for more java developers. 


Capgemini Trojan Coffee Cup from arkiv on Vimeo.

Despite knowing how hard it is to reach and engage developers, we set an ambitious goal for the campaign. We wanted to reach at least 150 software developers and make them order the coffee. 

During the first phase of the campaign, we didn’t spend anything on paid media because we wanted to maintain the illusion of as a friendly hobby project. Thus, the site was promoted exclusively using organic posts on LinkedIn and on Reddit where we casually asked in friendly developer lingo if anyone would like to test our little coffee project. 

It worked. Really well. We reached our goal of 150 orders in just two days…! 

In total 227 unique users completed the Java riddle on and thus proved to be in our target audience. We actually ran out of coffee after only two days and had to order extra. 

Of these 227 who received the coffee, 150 unique users scanned the QR-code and reached Capgemini’s site. A conversion rate of 66%! 

Amazingly three-quarters of everyone who scanned the code stayed on the site. The bounce rate was only 25% and the average time spent on site was 6 minutes. 

And the best part? The developers actually enjoyed the trick. Feedback on the site was overwhelmingly positive. 

“So creative! Well played! ” 

“Funny prank, and even better coffee. I was positively surprised, it was better than I had expected. Thumbs up!” 

“The coffee was smooth” 

“Good coffee and cool mug” 

“Very good coffee, I don’t mind a free mug and coffee from Solberg & Hansen in exchange for some sneaky advertising” 

“That was fun! Clever way to reach developers!” 

In phase 2, after was rebranded with Capgemini another 190 software developers consented to be contacted by Capgemini in exchange for a bag of our special coffee. 

In total 417 hot leads were generated by this campaign. 

Capgemini loved the results: 

  • We usually only get a couple of hits on our job ads since the marked for developers is so tough. The fact that we’re now sorting through hundreds of hot leads is fantastic. A bit of trickery really goes a long way , says Beate Nesheim, Talent Acquisition Manager, Capgemini
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