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Heineken – Open Your World

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The world is not as open as we thought. Recent divisive global events, combined with social media echo chambers we’re encased in, lead us to seek confirmation of our opinions instead of challenges. 

As brands fight for meaning, a leading soft drinks manufacturer recently faced catastrophic levels of public skepticism for capitalising off of social issues. Heineken’s brief to give its brand idea ‘Open Your World’ greater meaning and generate a social movement was therefore more than a media test and carried a high degree of risk. How can a brand create openness at a time when political pressures and social media echo-chambers make us closed?  

Waking up to Brexit, the UK felt more divided than ever across geographic, demographic, social and political lines. Voting amongst millennials, a key target market for Heineken, had the lowest turnout showing many aren't acting on opportunities to keep their world open, despite the majority calling for it.  

Elsewhere, Trump’s rhetoric has been described as the most polarising and closed in American history, increasingly one broadcast through social media. Despite this, research Mediavest | Spark carried out with leading human behaviour expert, Professor Chris Bauer, found that people actually have more uniting characteristics that dividing ones, concluding: “the absolute core of common ground is truly hearing the interests and concerns of another person…”.  

The communications insight therefore centred on that despite our differences, we can always find something that unites us. And when we do, we not only open our minds, but also open our world. 


Creating social change requires disruption on a colossal scale; as such the media strategy focused on blasting people out of their echo-chambers, targeting those most enclosed within their viewpoints. Social media had potential to achieve this; its omni-presence not only forges personal connections but increasingly sets global news agendas.  

Shunning traditional broadcast channels, spend centred entirely on social media, with mobile at the core. Through targeting, the agency wanted to open hearts and minds to new points of view, particularly those less receptive to the creative. Flipping the social media algorithms that serve content you like and agree with. It challenged conventional wisdom to hero long form creative when social channels advise the opposite. It predicted shorter copy would play into making snap decisions, reinforcing stereotypes – getting beyond first impressions to open minds.  

Partnering with trusted news sources and bloggers meant Mediavest | Spark could amplify content credibly across social platforms. 


Acknowledging this campaign carried risk, it launched organically in the UK on 20 April 2017, adding paid support five days later in USA, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, UK and five other European markets, after understanding the initial reaction through social listening.  

On Facebook, the agency targeted people whose interests showed they weren’t as likely to be open to the creative, while on Twitter, it targeted newsworthy content that was likely to spark fierce debate. This approach was mirrored on YouTube using Google Preferred. Through Instagram stories, the ad swiped up to reveal longer form content, a challenge to the traditional short form use.  

Huffington Post housed editorial within a social conversations channel, supported by key bloggers. The ‘Worlds Apart’ video ran across Huffington Post's Facebook platform and was further syndicated globally across a network of bloggers through AOL's BeOn social platform plus native social placements.  


This strategy to support long-form content, tailor made for smartphone social media consumption, paid off with ground-breaking results. Just four weeks since launching the campaign has:  

• On Facebook, the video saw paid media benchmark-breaking levels of engagement – 20 times the Heineken average and exceeding completion rate benchmarks by 48%  

• Secured the number one spot on the April 2017 YouTube ads leaderboard  

• Paid media delivered a staggering 3.16 minute average viewing time on YouTube  

• Served 65% of impressions through mobile devices, wholly justifying the focus on the platform. 

Following the successful launch in the UK, nine additional markets (including USA, Netherlands, Brazil and Australia) supported the ‘Worlds Apart’ asset on social media delivering 8.1 million paid video views between 24 April and 8 June. 

Globally, it generated 28.5 million views with 94% positive sentiment, 400,000 engagements, 600,000 shares and 722 online articles have been written! 

As the film travels the world, with a reach of three billion, so does Heineken's message of openness. Social movement created, a job well done.

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