Heineken Open Your World Case Study

The most talked about ad after the botched Pepsi Kendall one has to be Heineken's World's Apart experiment.

What made the commercial work besides the fact that Heineken was willing to pay a decent agency to work on the marketing campaign instead of doing it in-house like Pepsi?

What made it a success?

1) Authenticity

Using real people instead of celebrities to talk about real and valid issues is what made the Heineken #OpenYourWorld campaign a big success. 

In contrast with Pepsi's Kendall Jenner commercial where the revellers mainly comprised of affluent, upper-class white people with carefully selected pockets of various racial groups, Pepsi's commercial certainly looks more orchestrated than Heineken's.

The video advertisement released two weeks back has garnered close to 9 million views on Heineken's YouTube channel alone.

2) Current with the times

It's not just the timeliness of the ad after Pepsi's advertisement uproar but the ability to recognise that the younger generation are more open to talking about certain issues and confronting them, rather than hiding away from controversial topics like their parents would.

The Heineken ad chose to talk about bigotry, gender issues like transphobia and climate change.

3) Emotional appeal

Watching a commercial featuring real people instead of cute animals or famous faces for over four minutes is difficult.

In Heineken's case, real people telling stories about themselves, revealing something which may make them feel or look vulnerable in order to establish their opinion or position, creates a powerful impact and an intimate feeling among viewers that would strike an emotional cord in them.

What didn't

A new film, "Worlds apart", created by Publicis London, brings together three pairs of people divided by their identity and beliefs. Not initially realising why they have been teamed up, each duo follows instructions to build a bar and share a beer, before the truth about them is revealed on video.

The film was directed by Toby Dye through RSA. The media agency is Mediavest Spark.

Heineken is partnering with non-profit organisation The Human Library in an effort to enact the message of the film in real life. The Human Library is a collection of "books" – each of which is actually a person, with an extraordinary background – which can be "loaned on" for a conversation, debate and chance to find common ground. The partnership will take place at a series of events across the UK, including Wilderness Festival, in Oxfordshire in August.

The brand is also supporting a new study, led by Goldsmiths University behaviour expert Dr Chris Brauer, into the "Science of common ground" – while Heineken’s UK business will be holding "Mix it up" sessions, designed to encourage its staff to spend time with people in the company they have not met before.

And there will also be a Facebook chatbot, designed to connect "unexpectedly like-minded people" to each other, based on a short series of questions about the user’s passions.

Cindy Tervoort, head of marketing at Heineken, said: "Joining forces with The Human Library is a way for us to inspire more people to focus on the things that unite us rather than divide us. We don’t all support the same football team, listen to the same music or share the same taste in clothes.

"We know we’re never going to agree on everything but there will also be common ground. Whether it’s 1950, 2017 or 2027, being open lets us get more out of life. It makes the world a more interesting place. And it makes every story worth listening to."

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