Loading your Brand with Emotions & Politics – Heineken vs Pepsi

By | 28/04/2017

If you closely follow the advertising world you might have seen the shit-storm that overcame Pepsi earlier this month following the launch over a campaign that meant to align Pepsi with the political #resistance movement in the US. The PR disaster for Pepsi evolved out of a on only half-hearted approach to political themes – as there really is no political message and no substance in the campaign (see Fast Company and People for some of the social media reactions and memes). Take a look at the commercial, which was in the meantime withdrawn from stations and official Pepsi accounts.

Now Heineken has also launched a politicized campaign called Worlds Apart (#OpenYourWorld), which addresses the lack of actual one-on-one discussions within otherwise very heated public debates (in the UK). The 2-minute ad introduces six strangers, paired up based on their opposing views transgender rights, climate change and feminism. Pairing a bit of a team-building exercise (actually getting them to construct a bar), videos are shown exposing their harshly opposite, and leaving them with a choice: to just leave the scene or to discuss the obvious  differences over a beer (of course all three pairs stay to have a Heineken while chatting).

While Pepsi chose an almost self-congratulating message, Heineken is more subtle in the use of its brand and it’s certainly not the beer bottle that is at the heart of the campaign, but the thoughtful exchange on hot issues that it supports. While there was some criticism over how real and credible the Heineken ad really is, the company received wide praise by journalists, marketing professionals and wider social media. In particular as Heineken’s move was contrasted to the Pepsi fail two weeks earlier.

Check out the ad and let me know what you think down in the comment section!

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