Recently, many brands have joined the political conversation and used marketing campaigns as a way to put a stake in the ground around social and environmental issues they strongly believe in. Companies with an authentic message and actions that back their beliefs have been successful at voicing their values, however companies afraid of offending consumers with a decisive stance, have faced strong criticism from consumers and media. Now, Heineken’s new issues-charged campaign tactfully addresses the current landscape without alienating individuals on either side of divisive issues – using its brand to promote acceptance across the board.
In its new ‘Open Your World’ campaign, Heineken urges people with drastically opposing political views to keep an open mind and find common ground. The campaign launched with the ‘Worlds Apart’ video that captures a real life social experiment in which two strangers with different beliefs are asked to first build a stool, and then a bar. During the process they share details of their lives with one another before learning of each other’s political opinions. After learning about their differences, the participants are given a choice: leave, or stay and discuss the issues over a Heineken. They all stay. The emotional video is more than a comforting message of acceptance – the campaign is grounded in a study led by Goldsmiths University on the Science of Common Ground which explores the power of conversation as a tool for increasing tolerance. And in an effort to promote openness and acceptance, Heineken has partnered with The Human Library, a unique nonprofit organization that encourages more real life conversations about stereotypes.
Although Heineken’s approach does not back a specific issue, the message is clear. Where other brands may have missed the mark in providing commentary on the current political environment, Heineken was able to open a dialogue without taking sides – promoting acceptance through a multi-faceted campaign. In this way, the beer brand was able to show that behind every contentious issue is an individual who may not be so different after all.