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heineken go to marketing strategy

The Heineken Marketing Strategy and the Millennial Appeal


Heineken is one of the most delicious beers on the market. It’s got a cool green bottle, the flavor is great, and, hey! James Bond drinks Heineken between martinis so that’s cool! Heineken’s go-to marketing strategy for the last several years has been the “Open Your World” campaign. This has won the beer giant not one but two Cannes Lions awards. However, trends shift and Heineken is dropping its massively successful campaign for something that caters a bit more to the younger millennial crowd. It’s this ability to move a shift with the times (along with having a pretty great tasting beer and, you know, James Bond) that keeps Heineken at the top of the beer chain.

“Open Your World”

“Open Your World” was a massively successful campaign for Heineken. The campaign is a marketing strategy example for history books. The simple idea that everyone has their own personal mountain and the only way to move forward is to climb said mountain is a powerful metaphor. Some of us like a beer every now and again, and we didn’t necessarily need an aspirational idea for us to grab a green bottle. But it did add a little weight to the idea. Somehow, by grabbing a Heineken, you weren’t just kicking back. You were thinking about goals and ideas you’ve been kicking around. Heineken’s marketing team was able to help you conjure the idea of going for your dreams by consuming their product, and that is a massive feat and just one of the reasons they’ve been so successful.

Icon Status

We’ve mentioned it a few times thus far but you can’t picture Heineken without picturing the bottle. Out of all the marketing strategies in the world, you can’t fight the most obvious: get a great, iconic design. By perfecting the design of their bottles, Heineken has been able to ensure that whenever a Heineken is near, everyone knows it and recognizes it immediately. Whether you’re watching a new James Bond film or a television show where everyone goes out for beers, you can always spot the Heineken drinker and that’s something you can’t put a price on.

Changing with the Times

As stated above, the “Open Your World” campaign was an incredible success. However, times change and a fantastic go to marketing strategy must change with it. The younger demographic does not necessarily view the “Open Your World” campaign as aspirational, but rather as a corporate mandate. To be clearer, it feels a bit pressured to folks who work a number of unpaid internships while dealing with student loan debts. This is why Heineken will forego that tagline. Each commercial they air during Formula 1 and the Rugby World Cup will have an interesting ad that ends simply with “That’s Heineken.” Some companies might be nervous by the idea of having a very different demographic to advertise to but it’s something Heineken is excited about.

Outside the Box

While some companies prefer to keep all of our marketing in house, Heineken prefers to work outside the box. They’ve been working with an advertising agency for years, and it’s proved a successful partnership. At any company, there is a turnover. Meaning it’s difficult to keep that perfect branding going. So, the idea behind working with an agency is that Heineken will have a final say on the overall marketing strategy for the company, while the agency will handle the due diligence of creatively adhering to that brand. This way the proper eyes are on the proper prize at all times.

Web Content Development

If you’re looking to implement a few of the lessons learned from Heineken’s go-to marketing strategy, contact the team at Web Content Development today! We are here to help you reach your marketing goals for your business.

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About the Author

Erica D’Arcangelo – De Silva

Erica D’Arcangelo – De Silva has worked in the Internet marketing industry for the last 20-years. Erica is the top-secret SEO weapon to marketing and advertising agencies in the world. She has generated over 300+ million in revenue for high-value brands such as Walmart, Pottery Barn, iRobot, Cutting Edge Firewood, Kelley Blue Book, and many more. Erica has custom-created more than 1,000 content, SEO, and marketing strategies which held the key to doubling and tripling online traffic, and marketing ROI. She has also authored a series of online publications including The Digital Branding Survival Guide, Million Dollar Marketing, 5 Steps to Increase Web Traffic by Blogging, and Repairing Your Online Reputation.