By Audrey Kemp, LA Reporter

June 13, 2023 | 4 min read

The international beer brand celebrates its 150th anniversary with a playful campaign embracing its hard-to-spell name and a new global index for consumer conviviality.

Hinekken or Heniken? A new brand campaign from Heineken says, “Who cares?“

The beer brand today unveiled a new global campaign honoring its 150-year history through the many ways its name has been misspelled, its beer mis-served, and good times were spent.

According to a statement shared with The Drum, the campaign was inspired by the words of the man who built his family’s brewery until a multi-billion-dollar powerhouse, Freddy Heineken: “I don’t sell beer, I sell gezelligheid” (Dutch for “good times“).

“We’re open-minded about the way that our consumers refer to us, how they spell and nickname us, and how they drink Heineken because, we know this doesn’t really matter,” said Bram Westenbrink, global head of Heineken Brand, in a statement.

“Throughout our 150-year legacy, we have learned that good times are not about getting it right, but the conditions, locations and people we are able to enjoy a beer with. While how we enjoy good times may have changed and may differ in each of the 192 countries we are sold in, the need for good times remains the same and consistent, just like our beer. So, this campaign is a celebration of that universally shared experience, and the joy quality socializing and human connection can have for people, one way or another.”

Central to the campaign is a lighthearted television commercial that shows how people around the world pair social moments with the iconic green bottle. However, in these moments, Heineken is not always used as the brand intended it, from a tattoo of a misspelled logo to the beer being served on ice with lime and a straw. The spot also spotlights several of Heineken’s sponsorship properties, including former Formula 1 World Champion, Mika Hakkinen.

The spot was developed by Le Pub, an ad agency powered by Publicis Groupe. “For 150 years, Heineken has been more than a beer brand. With its witty, open-minded and relevant behavior, it has brought global consistency and strong local presence,” Bruno Bertelli, global CEO of LePub, global CCO of Publicis Worldwide and CCO of Publicis Groupe Italy, said in a statement.

“Many would think that such an iconic brand would care about the way it is spelled or experienced globally. Actually, Heineken thinks that as long as it is appreciated and people have good times, the real gezelligheid is achieved. That’s why we’ve created an unusual anniversary campaign, not self-celebratory or focusing on the Heineken credentials and history but on the ways it is enjoyed across the world.”

Accompanying the spot is a faux rebrand that will flood Heineken’s social media accounts and website pages with common spelling mistakes and colloquial nicknames. In addition, the brand says it is partnering with Kantar, a data analytics company, and Dr. Chris Brauer, human behavioral scientist at Goldsmiths, University of London, to construct a new brand tracking metric: The Heineken Good Times Index, which will observe and measure the good feelings felt among consumers on a global scale.

Heineken beer trucks


Agency: Le Pub

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