It’s always refreshing to see a major brand take a different tact with their advertising, but beer brands are some that typically don’t stray too far from the norm. Heineken, however, recently released a new ad that is not only highly politically charged, but it has a strong emotional component as well. The campaign is called #OpenYourWorld, and it completely flips the mold on the stereotypical beer ad. The idea is that two individuals will meet for a beer and discuss their disagreement on a specific issue.
The first ad features three sets of two strangers who have never met each other, and they are each polar opposites on a single issue, which include transgender rights, feminism, and climate change. The important catch is that the pairs meet each other and get marginally acquainted before they are shown the specific issue over which they disagree. Before the pairs meet, they shoot short videos that answer questions about their beliefs, and the pairs are made based on their disagreements.
After each pair has gotten to know each other a bit through some planned questions, they are asked to stand for a short video. Each is shown the other’s video, which exposes the truth of their disagreement. They are then given the option of either leaving or staying to discuss the issue over a beer. This is the first instance of an image of a Heineken or mention of the brand in the ad, and it appears several minutes into the long video. That doesn’t detract from the message or the advertisement, though.
One of the appealing aspects of the video is the big reveal, and it is especially entertaining and emotional to watch each person realize that they have been dealing with someone they inherently disagree with. There is typically a flurry of emotion as they reevaluate the person while trying to maintain that sense of connection they built earlier. One of the most profound moments of the ad is when a man says in his video recording that he believes it isn’t right to be transgendered. The woman he has been speaking with instantly appears uncomfortable at that revelation, because she herself is transgendered.
At first, the man appears to leave, but he laughs and rejoins the woman a moment later. He concedes that he didn’t realize the world was so filled with gray areas between the black and white, and the viewer can see he appears genuine in his revelation that some of his beliefs might not be so well-founded.
Another pair in the short video disagree over climate change. They are both confident white men, yet one staunchly believes that climate change is a threat to the planet, and the other believes just as vehemently in the other direction. They agree that a good dialogue is the only way to help progress forward, regardless of the situation.
The last pair includes a female who is a self-proclaimed feminist and a white man who claims that feminism is a threat to the American way of life. In their early interactions it is clear the man sees woman as inferior, but as the ad progresses and he gets to know his drinking partner, his tone lightens and he seems to realize there is more to it than his slim view.
There aren’t many ads of any sort that reach this level of poignancy, but it’s spot-on with its authenticity and raw spirit. Opposing viewpoints aren’t always easy to rectify, but starting the conversation with a cold beer is a good start. Perhaps other brands will take a page from Heineken’s book in the future.