Heineken Creates a Unique Brand Experience

A Standout Creative Campaign
There’s plenty of talk about the changing face of advertising. Every day I read about the fragmentation of markets, of channels, of brand messages, of how the task of connecting to consumers is becoming more and more challenging. And then you come across an example of an ad that has so effectively risen to those challenges, it simply reminds you that creativity is the answer. A work colleague sent this absolute ripper of an integrated campaign for Heineken to me today.

A Remarkable Brand Gesture
This is certainly one of the most powerful examples an unforgettable brand gesture I’ve seen over recent years. I loved this unique brand experience for the following reasons:

– Heineken clearly understands their market and thus their most vulnerable pressure points.

– They took a huge leap of faith. Any unconventional campaign idea requires the support of a courageous client, but a savvy client understands that if the message is on brand, the risk is diminished.

– The idea is both unique and highly creative. If you’re going to go guerrilla, you need to make sure your idea is big enough to generate buzz. The pay-off for a guerrilla campaign is in the interest it fires-up, and how you leverage  that. This brand gesture has genuine Woodstock potential – as the years pass, more and more people will claim to have been in that theater.

– One of the golden rules of branding is; ‘don’t tell me, show me’. Most brands spend alot of energy telling us who they are instead of demonstrating it. Heineken jumped straight to the demonstration part, leaving the telling to others and at the same time aligning nicely to Heineken’s ‘Made to Entertain’ proposition.

– Brand theater attracts interest and positive association from a wider and broader audience. One great thing about creating unique brand experiences is the extent to which they engage people who were not necessarily connected to the brand previously. We know that once people have participated in the brand experience, either directly or through passing-on the buzz, they are likely to become brand advocates.

– It doesn’t have to be on-line to be Social. The Heineken campaign is a great reminder that the rules of social media apply just as effectively, if-not more off-line than they do on-line.

So What Were the Results?

1.500.000 people watched the event on live TV via Sky Sport,

– 10.000.000 people saw it in the news the day after, and

Heineken had 5.000.000 unique visitors to their site in the two weeks after the event.

The risk Heineken took with this campaign has proven to be worthwhile. The ROI from this campaign is remarkably high by any standards. The lesson for any brand is that if you understand your target market and have clarity around your brand like Heineken do, you too can take the leap and with a great idea, create a remarkable brand experience.

Tim Wood
Design Creative


  1. I Love this campaign – where did you find it? Good-on Heineken for taking such a bold decision to run with something like this. It just shows how meek marketers will continue to develop meek brands and bold marketers enjoy the spoils of having a brand that stands-out.

  2. Thanks for sharing, Tim. Couldn’t agree more with this statement below.

    “One of the golden rules of branding is; ‘don’t tell me, show me’. Most brands spend alot of energy telling us who they are instead of demonstrating it.”

    Talking about it doesn’t make it any more or less true; it just gets in the way of it speaking for itself.

    Incidentally, we’ve done a fair bit of writing about it — “Don’t Say It. Just Do It” — http://bit.ly/zl1ylL

    Happy Branding!! =)

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