5 reasons the new Heineken Light campaign falls flat

Man in snakeskin jacket ordering two beersHeineken Light is getting a lot of press lately for round two of their ad campaign. But I don’t have high hopes for it, do you? (If you haven’t seen the commercial yet, watch it here.)

Their “Be a Man of the World” campaign (according to their press release): “celebrates consumers and their ‘occasionally perfect’ experiences. While every occasion is not right for Heineken Light, the beer is a perfect fit for those situations that call for something a little more unique, special and upscale.”

Reasons this won’t work are easy to come by:

  1. What does “Be a Man of the World” remind you of? You don’t even need to see their man in a snakeskin jacket to guess that this seems like a ripoff of Dos Equis’ “The Most Interesting Man in the World.
  2. “Occasionally perfect” is a horrible tagline. Why? Because it needs context to be understood correctly. When the average person hears “occasionally perfect,” they equate that to “every once in a while we get things right.” When you see the ad, you know Heineken means to say that their beer is not for every occasion, but is perfect for many.
  3. The light beer market is a difficult one for premium beers, and lately sales have been dropping for standard light beers as well.
  4. Craft beers are hot and growing hotter. The craft brewing industry grew in 2010 at least 11% by volume and 12% by dollars, while overall, U.S. beer sales were down an estimated 1% by volume in 2010 and 2.2% in 2009. (Source)
  5. Last, but not least, Heineken Light got a D+ from Beer Advocate. If it doesn’t taste good, no one’s going to buy it.

What’s the solution? Well, the taste problem is going to be hard to overcome. But I think Heineken Light, and other premium light beers, could make headway if they advertised to women.

Right now, Heineken is trying to sell their usual male audience on a cut in calories and a cut in alcohol content. Sorry men, but in advertising, promoting responsibility usually relates more with women than with men.

Also, women are the forgotten market when it comes to alcohol advertising. I mean, we drink too, so why not follow Jack Daniels’ lead and go after female purchasers?

Hey, it’s either that or drop the price. And I don’t think Heineken is looking to make that move. Premium beers get a premium price—otherwise they wouldn’t be called premium, right?


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