Editor's Note

Published on .

I caught up with Steve Davis from Heineken the other day. One of the mainstays of the beer marketing wars, Davis—by virtue of his brand's premium positioning—has stayed above the ever-cantankerous fray among the domestics, marked by such stunts like the Bud Light Super Bowl spots with crotch-grabbing canines and flatulent horses and the notorious Miller uber-babes mud wrestling.

While A-B, Coors and SABMiller have turned up the volume on sophomoric high jinks, Davis has crafted a more refined image over the years, cozying up to more exclusive cultural mores like U.S. Open tennis as opposed to the NFL or "unique music events that are original and authentic. We’re not going to sponsor the Rolling Stones."

Davis, like John Hayes at AmEx, also understands the risk-reward proposition of branded entertainment is well worth it. In today's Player profile, Davis does not betray one iota of remorse for having endured the sturm and drang of "The Matrix Reloaded" partnership with Warner Bros., one that was fraught with broken promises and much bickering. Brands like GM and Heineken struggled to manage the mercurial, volatile personalities of producer Joel Silver and the directing team of the Wachowski Brothers, which the studio was not able to corral in a manner that pleased the brands.

But at the end of the day, in a testament to Davis' belief in the co-branding potential between Hollywood and advertisers, he insists that despite the "unnecessary" drama of "The Matrix" project, he'd sign up for it again.

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