Heineken Turning Viral Ad Into New Global TV Campaign

Elements of Wieden's 'The Entrance' Video Will Be Used in Euro RSCG's U.S. Effort

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Does Heineken finally have a hit on its hands?

The import, which has struggled to find a breakthrough marketing message, is launching TV versions of its "The Entrance" web campaign, which is the second-most watched web ad in the latest Ad Age Viral Video Chart with nearly a million views in a week.

The video, in which a man charms his way into a party with over-the-top greetings, was shot for Heineken International by Wieden & Kennedy, Amsterdam. The brewer is now making it the centerpiece of its first global campaign for the Heineken brand in five years, called "Open Your World," with versions planned for the U.S., U.K., Argentina, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and other countries.

Heineken USA is expected to begin airing the TV ads in March. Elements of the ads will also be incorporated in a new U.S.-only campaign being prepared by Euro RSCG, the importer's agency for Heineken Lager, according to the importer.

"Heineken wants to elevate our drinkers by showing aspirational behavior -- our consumer knows how to navigate the world, is confident, open-minded and resourceful," spokeswoman Tara Carraro told Ad Age in an email.

The new effort spells the end of Heineken Lager's "Give Yourself a Good Name" campaign, which debuted in 2009 and played on everyday situations, like a man seeking to win over his boss's daughter by buying them both a Heineken. The ads were started in 2009 by Heineken's previous agency, Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., and continued by Euro RSCG, New York, when it took over the account later that year. But the campaign failed to generate much buzz -- and fell way short of the "Most Interesting Man in the World" campaign by Euro that has made Heineken USA's Dos Equis brand one of the hottest imports in the states.

As Heineken sales slumped, the importer's chief marketing officer, Christian McMahan, departed late last year. The importer has yet to name a replacement. Heineken Lager volume sales dropped by 8.5% from 2008 to 2009, but have recovered some, finishing 2010 down only 3.3% compared with 2008, according to the importer.

The "Entrance" was shot in Barcelona, Spain, and stars French actor Eric Monjoin. In the video he charms his way past an oil barron, kung fu assassin and others and ends up on stage performing with the lead singer of The Asteroids Galaxy Tour, a Danish alternative pop band, whose latest single, "The Golden Age," is the ad's soundtrack.

"With this campaign, Heineken recognizes the legend in all of its drinkers. Men who know their way around and recognize a fine beer when they taste one," Wieden & Kennedy creative directors Mark Bernath and Eric Quennoy said in a statement.

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