Social and Influencer > Excellence in Social & Influencer

THE VIRTUAL HEINEKEN SILVER

PUBLICIS ITALY, Milan / HEINEKEN / 2022

Awards:

Silver Cannes Lions
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Overview

Credits

Overview

Why is this work relevant for Social & Influencer?

We launched a virtual beer to prove that the virtual world isn’t always better than reality.And when everyone realised the absurdity of a virtual drink,people started asking for the real beer. But to make the news travel the world,the virtual beer had to be virtually everywhere. So we opened a virtual brewery in Decentraland,launched a social campaign in 17 countries and collaborated with influencers from all over Europe who spread their disappointment,turning our virtual beer into a trend topic.The campaign generated 1.7B+ impressions and travelled to 30+ countries,pushing people to actually crave to taste the real Silver.

Background

Heineken had to launch a new light beer for a young target audience. And nowadays, all the brands trying to appeal to young people are jumping on the latest trend of the Metaverse. For many brands, the virtual world is a cool place to make people experience their product in a fresh way. But that is not true for every product and especially not for beer. Because the Metaverse is actually the only place where you can’t enjoy the refreshing taste of a real beer.

Describe the creative idea

To demonstrate that the virtual world isn’t always better than the real one, we ironically jumped on the metaverse trend by launching the first virtual beer that you are not able to hold or drink or taste. The virtual beer was promoted as if it was a new beer that consumers could try for themselves. Only problem, once they interacted with the new virtual Silver in the metaverse, they had the realisation that they weren't able to taste it. Hence, we induced them the need and expectation to try the new beer for real.

Describe the strategy

Heineken needed to connect with youth consumers and launch its new beer with a Gen-z first campaign. But how could we connect with a younger audience when for them the coolest things around are virtual, while beer has always been a tool to connect people in real life? We decided to show that the metaverse is great for many things, but when it comes to socialising the real world is better. So we went where our target is: we opened a virtual brewery on Decentraland and launched a massive social and influencer campaign to push our new virtual beer. And when the news of how absurd a virtual drink was, started to spread on social media, people, influencers and news outlets went crazy, actually asking for the real beer.

Describe the execution

In March we opened a virtual brewery in Decentraland and organised a launch event where people, journalists and influencers, could virtually taste our new beer. The whole virtual experience was an ironic joke to poke fun at the absurdity of a virtual beer. On social media and OOH, we launched a copyAd campaign to promote the absurdity of our undrinkable beer, together with three videos of avatars trying to try the virtual Heineken Silver. Influencers from 17 different countries created different pieces of content to sustain the launch of Heineken Silver throughout the different phases of the campaign.

And when it was clear how silly a virtual drink was, we broke out of the metaverse and launched the real Silver through a social and OOH campaign and through a series of Metabar parties, where the virtual world actually met the real one. The campaign travelled across 30+ markets.

List the results

This has been the biggest launch in the drink industry in Europe in the last decade:

After only one week, the Heineken Silver launch was already the most successful launch in Heineken’s history. With 266K+ social interaction and 1350+ hours spent in front of a virtual beer. The campaign got 2K+ press mentions across the globe, 1.7B+ impressions and 10K+ organic upvotes on Reddit. We reached 30+ countries - even 13 where we didn’t actually launch. And the 94% positive response to the campaign turned into a 172% increase in purchase interest.

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