Crafting Purpose-focused Food & Lifestyle Brands

How Heineken’s “Worlds Apart” Shows that Purpose-focused Content Works

[Originally published April 27, 2017)

Scroll down the list of videos on Heineken’s YouTube channel and you see what you’d expect from a beer brand: partying people partying, sporty people sportying (yep, that’s a word, as of now!) and the usual calls by an alcohol brand to drink responsibly. And then there’s Worlds Apart.

Worlds Apart was published to the channel one week ago, and is already up to 1.5 million views. There are only a few videos on their channel that surpassed 1 million views, most over a year old. The point is that Worlds Apart is demonstrating a viral level of interest, within just a week.

Certainly, the press attention to this video isn’t hurting. From Fast Company, to People, to the Independent, to Adweek, people are talking about Worlds Apart. And quite favorably, we might add. In fact, a week into its release and the response is overwhelmingly positive.

Perhaps Adweek best explains why this is with their Ad of the Day head nod titled “Hey Pepsi, Here’s How It’s Done. Heineken Takes On Our Differences, and Nails It

Based upon our 8 Principles of Purpose-focused Content, here’s why we think this video is hitting all the right notes:

  • Worlds Apart breaks from traditional alcohol brand promotions to outwardly focus on real issues that matter to real people. In the context of current events, their message is there’s more that binds us than separates us;
  • They are establishing that they have a shared value with their customers that, despite our differences, we should be able to get along;
  • They have established their values in a way that they can own, that is uniquely theirs. Yes, getting together to talk over a beer isn’t necessarily a ground breaking thought. But to put their brand behind bridging differences the way they have, particularly in a way that is received well — yeah, they own this (Pepsi, take note);
  • There’s no doubt now that with Worlds Apart, Heineken is part of a consumer conversation around their brand in a way like no other. We touched upon this with our report on the Budweiser Super Bowl ad about immigrants. At the time, we speculated they were rolling the dice with their ad. However, since they were still the best selling beer brand for the Super Bowl, inspite of #BoycottBudweiser reactions, means it was a bold and safe bet;
  • Heineken demonstrates that a brand promotion can be cleverly implemented without superficiality and show that they care;
  • They are inserting themselves into the consciousness of consumers in a meaningful way, and in the process, improve people’s lives while improving the bottom line.

Interested in talking more about this?

Hit me up, let’s grab a beer, and let’s talk!