Amanda Romano – Group 5
Recently in this class, our professor showed us a Heineken integrated advertising campaign called Worlds Apart. Personally, I really enjoyed watching this video and agree that it is effective. I find myself always intrigued by advertising companies that come up with unique ideas and make creative advertising. As an advertising major, I feel this information of what advertising work generates good buzz is important to know for the future. I think advertisements nowadays have to be different than the rest because we live in a world full of constant ads. Simply telling us to “buy your product” is not good enough. A company that does not directly try and sell their products, but rather spreads a meaningful message to the public is definitely a good approach. I know I remember advertisements that trigger an emotional connection with me. It is key to consider, however, especially when your ad is controversial, that you do not want risk being put in the bad spotlight. Also, with the quick advancement of social media, it can be an advantage to companies, yet also a downfall. Advertisements spread like wildfire online. I usually see an advertisement for the first time on social media, such as YouTube or Facebook. Then when I really like it, I share it with friends and family. With this Heineken ad, it definitely was a risk, considering sensitive topics are discussed. Heineken took a risk, but it paid off. I like to be inspired by great brands that show great work to the world. So, I decided to dive a little deeper into this Heineken commercial to see “behind the scenes” of the insight and strategy. What sparked this idea that spread worldwide?
In a current article by Contagious, we see how this beer ad attracted a whopping 40 million views online! Let me start by summarizing what this video shows. In April of 2017, Heineken released this campaign Worlds Apart, which promotes openness and whether a common ground can bring people together. The social experiment, documented in a film, required strangers who had conflicting beliefs on topics such as feminism to work in pairs to complete a menial challenge. Once the participants had finished the challenges, the brand revealed their opposing opinions and gave them the choice to either walk away or stay and discuss their differences over a Heineken beer. Heineken definitely did their research before creating this campaign and doing your research prior to a campaign is key. Dr. Chris Brauer, director of innovation at Goldsmiths University, told Heineken “a common ground is critical to creating empathy and tolerance, which leads to being more open.” Heineken also partnered with The Human Library, a non-profit organization whose goal is to break down prejudice by helping people to look beyond labels and find mutual ground with one another. Their ‘books’ include conversations with real people and amazing stories. One hot topic discussed today is the topic of transgender people. Transgender people are talked about in The Human Library and also shown in the Heineken video. I always enjoy hearing people’s stories that spur inspiration. In today’s society, it is important that we respect people, despite our differences over politics, sexuality, etc. Our world would be a better place if everyone could accept people for who they are.
Cindy Tervoort, head of marketing at Heineken UK, discusses the challenges and opportunities for brands associated with taking a stand in an increasingly divided world. Contagious did a brief interview with her that gave us more details on Heineken as an overall brand and their Worlds Apart campaign. The first question asked was, “What’s Heinekens’ position and history?” Heineken is 150 years old, so they go way back. As a brand, Heineken represents openness, diversity, and crossing borders. I like how Heineken advertises bringing people together over a beer. A beer should be more than just a beer and Heineken shows that. It is more about the experience associated with the beer. Heineken is trying to shift to a more inclusive world and help people connect over a common ground. Cindy discusses the brand’s main challenges as well. She states that Heineken sees challenges more as opportunities, which I can appreciate. It is important to do a SWOT analysis like we did in class for companies, outlining the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Heineken has grown by double digits in the last 5 years, so they are doing quite well. Successful advertising is significant to their rapid growth. Heineken is a classic brand that we all know and love. Yet, Cindy agrees Heineken is in a competitive market, competing with brands such as Guinness. Heineken is always looking to increase awareness and grow even more. We are surrounded by countless brands of beer, so it is important to get consumers to always choose Heineken over other beers. I know I do not drink a lot of beer, so if a company such as Heineken appeals to me over a simple video, I would support the brand. I really like what Heineken stands for.
Diving a little deeper into the interview, Cindy Tervoort specifically talks about how Heineken came up with the idea for Worlds Apart. As she mentioned, for years they present being open, looking out, and celebrating diversity. Heineken still sees a divided world, which inspired their insight. In my classes, I learned the huge power of an insight. An insight is the basis for which a great campaign is built. Their insight was that we’re probably not as open as we think we are. Heineken brings up a good point as well that social media increases this idea, being surrounded by people who think like us. I never thought about this, but it is true. When someone’s beliefs disagree with ours, we are surprised. However, we should not act like this. Heineken decided to step up and take their tagline Open Your World to a new level, hence the campaign was created. Cindy then shares her opinion on if brands need an opinion on dividing issues in society. She agrees that brands should inspire people, but it should be credible. Heineken aims to create understanding and bring people together. Other brands should follow in their steps and continue to inspire people everyday. Involving further information on the research with Chris Brauer, we see he lead a study that showed some of the characteristics creating common ground are tolerance, empathy, creating mutual goals and shared identities. Heineken realized if they create more of these, people will me more accepting.
There are different elements of this campaign. Cindy states the first phase was all about creating awareness around the issue. The second phase was about the collaboration with the Human Library. Heineken wanted to talk about the topic, but wanted to make sure they were in the right position to do it. Many brands are now taking a stand on diving issues. Cindy shares some advice, saying ads of brands need to be authentic, have a clear role for the product, and should focus on the different views of different people. Tervoort says Heineken wanted to make the whole experiment real and look for passionate people. I think the realness of their campaign was warming and entertaining to us. It made me smile when I watched it in class. Cindy then talks about the risk associated with the campaign. With so many brand messages, Cindy agrees a risk is necessary in building your brand. We should invite customers and talk about something important. Integrating an important issue with a company can give good symbolism to a brand. It is true that brands cannot be scared to do something different, for it can really work in their favor. Besides the powerful message, Heineken aimed to grow and make a favorite brand in the UK. I thought it was interesting how Heineken did not have a target audience for this campaign. It makes sense though, because anyone in the world can watch this video and relate. It does not matter your gender, age, or sexuality and Heineken, therefore, targeted their diverse consumers. Heineken is happy with the outcome of the campaign and they should be. As I mentioned earlier, 40 million views across various social media channels! Prior to this class, I had not seen this video, but I am glad I was exposed to it. Additionally, 91% of all the opinions are positive, which is very impressive. In the beginning of the campaign, Heineken did not push it and people just kept sharing it. This is still true today. The positive power of sharing and engaging content as a brand is necessary to realize. People have positively commented, sharing their individual emotions, showing how the campaign really struck in a good way. The message in the campaign was clear and people got it. This interview with Cindy Tervoort was really interesting and informative in gaining understanding of how a campaign and brand can be successful. I hope this blog adds additional insight to Heineken and the Worlds Apart video, influencing you to go drink a Heineken. Click on the link below to see the video and article!