Heineken is putting something new in the hands of its Man of the
World: an updated bottle.
The leading man in the ongoing "Open Your World" campaign will
this year will tout the "star bottle" as part of a national rollout
of the brand's first major U.S. package redesign since 1946.
The update, which Ad Age reported last year,
replaces the brand's familiar short necks for long ones in a move
that Heineken USA calls a "huge step forward in the globalization
of the brand."
The importer's global parent in 2011 rolled out long necks
almost everywhere but the U.S., where the importer
initially resisted in hopes of keeping a different look from
domestic brews. But the new bottle tested well, so Heineken USA
The ad doesn't exactly make the bottle the star. Rather, the
spot, by Wieden & Kennedy,
New York, shows a suave, worldly man pursuing women in exotic
nightclubs Ho Chi Minh City, Lagos and New York, where he finally
gets the girl. He orders a couple bottles as the spot closes with
an image of the familiar Heineken red star appearing over text that
reads "Presenting the Star Bottle."
"The bottle is featured but it's part of a larger story," said
Scott Vitrone, an exec creative director at Wieden & Kennedy,
New York. "I just don't think you are going to get the same kind of
entertainment value or the same kind of brand presence if you have
a spot where the bottle is spinning around for 60 seconds."
Still, package updates have emerged as a major marketing ploy
for beer marketers of late, who are increasingly using redesigns as
a way to generate news that is plugged in ads. Miller Lite, for
instance, is following up last year's "punch top can" with a redesigned bottle meant exclusively for
sales at bars and restaurants. Bud Light is planning to roll out a
new "vented can," while Budweiser is debuting a "bow-tie" shaped
can for Budweiser, playing off the well-known brand logo
Heineken's new bottle features an "embossed thumb groove that
improves grip and encourages people to hold the bottle at a lower
point, keeping the beer colder," according to a statement.
Do drinkers seriously care about this stuff?
"We've done a bunch of testing on it, [and] particularly with
the younger consumer, we saw tangible positive results on things
like 'modern' and 'progressive," said Heineken USA Chief Marketing
Officer Lesya Lysyj.
The ad was directed by Rupert Sanders and features the song
"Dance Music 1," which was composed by Rahul Dev Burman for the
1971 film "Hare Rama Hare Krishna." The spot was made for the U.S.
market but will be available for other Heineken markets to use.
E.J. Schultz is the News Editor for Ad Age, overseeing breaking news and daily coverage. He also contributes reporting on the beverage, automotive and sports marketing industries. He is a former reporter for McClatchy newspapers, including the Fresno Bee, where he covered business and state government and politics.