Heineken’s PSA

After Pepsi’s commercial failure with its Kendall Jenner commercial earlier this month, Heineken is getting all sorts of praise for being able to genuinely accomplish what Pepsi failed in doing. During the Pepsi commercial, the company was trying to leverage the celebrity endorsement to gain Kendall Jenner’s following. It aimed to use a popular public figure to unite everyone over the idea of having a Pepsi. Instead though, it was criticized for making light of the struggles that protesters for social change must endure.

Heineken heeding Pepsi’s lesson

Heineken took notes and went a completely different route. In its commercial, which is more of a short film, people with polar opposite viewpoints were put together to accomplish several tasks. The participants happened to be very helpful and amicable with one another. In the end, the participants watch videos of their partner describing themselves as the polar opposite of the other participant. They are given a choice: You may go or you can stay and discuss your differences over a beer. The use of the word discuss creates an environment of understanding instead of one where you are trying to simply argue your point. Moreover, differences further highlights the idea that neither viewpoint is superior to the other. The reason why I think that this commercial is so well-liked is that it suggests the essentially good nature of human beings. It acknowledges that everyone is different and encourages peaceful discussion between the different demographics.

External factors to its success

This commercial comes at a time when emotions and cultural divisions are on the front lines. It comes at a time when the Netherland’s French neighbors are faced with an election where they must to fear immigrants or to accept them. It comes at a time when minorities, such as transgenders, are getting the courage to speak out and be proud of who they are. This ad plays to the viewer’s hope for a perfect world, where discussions can be had without letting emotions take over. Heineken making this type of commercial at this time of course isn’t random. The company clearly surveyed its surroundings and its target market in order to create a campaign that will get people talking (and hopefully buying).

Doesn’t this ad seem familiar though? Whether it’s changing how women view themselves or how women are viewed, Dove’s whole advertising campaign strategy is based on creating similar PSA’s to this one. Can you think of other campaigns that have the same tone?

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