Heineken raises a glass to the unexpected in latest creative push

Heineken is bringing a lighthearted message to beer drinkers across the US in its summer campaign that launches today.

Called ‘Cheers to the Unexpected,’ the campaign’s main spot features a well-dressed man who’s about to walk into the doors of what appears to be a terribly pretentious party. Lucky for him, though, he accidentally rings the doorbell of unit nine instead of six — and finds himself at a banger complete with dancing, a band, confetti and, of course, Heineken.

The spot, created by Publicis Worldwide New York, leaves viewers with a few wise words: ‘Sometimes the wrong party is the right one.’

According to the company, the campaign – which spans TV, digital spots and out-of-home – is rooted in insights about the brand’s drinkers in the US, who apparently “thrive for spontaneity, and those who embrace it are happier in life.”

Jonnie Cahill, who was promoted to chief marketing officer of Heineken USA earlier this year, said the brand is attempting “to help win back life’s fun, high energy and unexpected occasions” with this latest push.

“Sometimes we may feel most comfortable when things are certain, but most alive when the structure is removed, and life is able to happen naturally,” he said. “We’re pushing viewers to take advantage of everyday experiences to not only live in the moment, but to embrace possibilities and discover all that life has in store.”

A second spot, timed to the World Cup, will begin airing next week. Featuring Frankie Valli’s ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,’ the 30-second ad shows a man and woman who appear to be looking lovingly into each other’s eyes at a bar. It’s only when the camera pans out that viewers realize they were actually staring at a closely contested soccer match. After their team wins the game, the two end up celebrating over some Heinekens.

Heineken says the soccer-themed spot is part of its strategy to “establish its standing as the worldwide leader in the sport and its commitment to growing the beautiful game in the US.” Over the past few years, the brand has worked hard to align itself with soccer in the US. Since 2015, the brewer has served as the official beer of Major League Soccer (MLS), a sponsorship it recently extended for an additional five years.

It’s also released a number of soccer-related campaigns since the sponsorship took effect; in 2016, Heineken released a campaign called ‘Soccer Is Here’ featuring New York City FC captain David Villa, two-time Olympic gold medalist Carli Lloyd and American soccer legend Landon Donovan. It extended the campaign into 2017 with another ad starring Villa.

Throughout the rest of the year, Heineken plans to roll out two additional spots under the ‘Cheers to the Unexpected’ strapline, one this summer and another around the holiday season. Cahill says each spot in the campaign aims to put a spotlight “squarely on the beer itself” and the friends and people who are enjoying it.

“With each of the four commercials, we’re linking back to the true reasons why people enjoy beer – connecting with friends, making memories, and having a blast in the moments you never knew would happen," he said.

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