Heineken case study

Heineken case study - May 2013

How we helped Heineken

The global brewer, Heineken International, produced a TV commercial called ‘Sunrise’ for its Heineken beer brand. This depicted a man enjoying a night in a club and was designed to encourage moderate drinking.

In the original global edit, the man drinks one bottle of Heineken and then drinks only water. He encounters a number of drunk people, dances with female twins and finally leaves with the female DJ.

The tag line at the end read: ‘Sunrise belongs to moderate drinkers’.

Problems with this ad

We were sent this ad for approval, but had not been shown a pre-production script. It was not cleared for approval, because BCAP Code guidance states that an ad telling a responsible drinking story should not also promote an alcohol product or brand.

Other scenes in the ad were likely to breach the BCAP Code, too.

Heineken was keen to show the ad in the UK, and wanted to understand whether it was possible to make it acceptable while retaining the main story.

Two routes to approval

Our copy development manager, Seb Lynch, met with the Heineken team and presented two possible options.

The first maintained the responsible drinking context but removed any promotion of Heineken beer. Taking this route would mean that elements normally prohibited in alcohol adverting — like showing drunk people — would be acceptable.

The second route involved de-emphasising the responsible drinking message but adapting the visuals to comply with all rules.

Dance more. Drink slow

Heineken wanted to retain product references in the commercial, so the challenge was to rewrite the tag line to something less overtly about responsible drinking.

Following our advice, Heineken removed anyone who looked drunk and removed any suggestion of sexual success. We then met with Heineken to watch the edited ad and discuss options for the tag line.

Heineken revealed that its new global campaign would be using the tag line ‘Dance more. Drink Slow’, so from a corporate point of view it would be ideal to use this line.

We presented and discussed this at our regular policy and copy meeting. After considering various issues, we agreed it was acceptable.

UK television success

Our copy development service enabled Heineken to adapt its existing copy, ultimately producing an ad that promoted its product while retaining the essence of the original story.

The finalised ad was approved by Clearcast and has been broadcast without complaint, using the tag line: Enjoy the Sunrise. Dance More. Drink Slow.

Without our copy development service it is very unlikely that the ad would have appeared on UK television.

Heineken says...

"The BCAP rules for alcohol are rightly stringent and ensure that we, as responsible advertisers, operate to the highest standards. There are some occasions where a far more detailed assessment of copy versus code is necessary, either at an early stage of planning or where international material is being considered for UK broadcast.”

“The ability to sit down one-to-one with the copy development manager is a major benefit and helps us ensure, as best we can, that we are fully compliant with the Code.”

“Of course, often interpretation can be subjective, and having independent advice is a very useful contribution to the decision making process. The Clearcast copy development service is definitely something we will make further use of in the future."
Nigel Pollard, Head of External Communications, HEINEKEN

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