Heineken’s latest ad: a win or just a lesser fail?

We all saw the Pepsi ad a few weeks ago (Julian added his 2 cents here) and yesterday, Heineken released their latest ad based around a similar theme of polar opposites coming together and realising that we’re all not that different after all. This sparked a bit of a conversation on the Manifest Slack. Check out what we thought below the video.

Enter Julian: I think it does feel forced. I’m all for dialogue – but dialogue that is thorough and considered and actually aims to change hearts and minds. This Heineken ad seemed a little too polite. It relied on the supposed novelty of people with opposing ideas not tearing each other into shreds when placed in a confined space by a multinational brewery. What is Heineken standing up for here? Are they challenging anti-feminism, trans-phobia or is this their attempt at arguing that all viewpoints matter equally. That’s dangerous territory. It does look refreshing when compared with Pepsi’s hamfisted effort a few weeks ago, but I think this is almost as vacuous.

Climate change deniers drink beer too. STOP PRESS!
What’s the resolution?

A wild Adam appears:  The resolution is that they have a discussion, which I think is perfect. It would be way too forced if they were like ‘oh we’ve changed our minds on our most deep-seated views’ – For that reason, they maybe could have left out the ‘i’ll keep in touch’ thing.

Overall I think that’s a good execution – the casting was certainly a really big achievement if they are genuine, but I do wonder how real it is. I hope it’s real!

Martin enters the arena: You’ve got to admire the idea, but the execution does feel a bit forced doesn’t it? Maybe I’ve just become a bit sceptical over the years, but when a big brand tries to do something quite raw and thought provoking, it just falls a bit flat. Maybe it’s the fact that they’re made to do a really lame team building exercise?

Volvo’s content series is the only big brand execution that has resonated for me.

Adam responds: I can understand the scepticism – especially when Heineken’s brand presence is heightened by quite ham-fisted product placement. I think if you’re going to be ‘that brand’ – the brand who makes people think about their values, then maybe you also need to be the brand who lets go of product shots. For example, Pepsi’s biggest fall down was the outrageous use of the product within that already shaky narrative.

I think we are on a journey. At the start of the journey, you’ve got the product led advertising of the 60’s – big shots of foaming beer or sliced bread or a Volvo driving through the mountains. At the other end of the journey, you’ve got brands telling stories that encompass only the values, without any products in – the brand benefits purely by owning the media/content and distributes it through it’s own channels. For example, if Pepsi’s Facebook page posts a video, why does the first thing you see have to be a can of Pepsi? We already know what Pepsi is. You’ve lost us in the first second. Just tell us a story that’s linked up to your values and tell it well; then maybe I’ll share it. In the long run, your brand gets more FREE exposure through it’s authentic style of storytelling, rather than the current dogma of paying big money to show sexed up product shots.

Martin: That’s what I like about Volvo – especially Lifepaint. Here’s a topical subject presented by a brand you wouldn’t expect to be doing this sort of thing and actually delivering something that strengthens their brand without shots of their cars rammed down your throat. It’s totally attached to their 2020 Vision.

What say you?

We’d love to hear what you think on this… Get involved on the socials of media – we’re at @ManifestLDN, @JulianObubo, @Eighty_Ten and @AdamASRae.

Wow. Show me more stuff like this.