Why Heineken USA is getting crafty on Pinterest
Beer and arts and crafts are not a classic match—especially when it comes to marketing. Suds and sports bars are more like it. But the pandemic has forced brewers into some unusual pairings as they attempt to stay top of mind with drinkers while bars and restaurants struggle to stay open amid coronavirus case spikes.
The situation has led Heineken USA to new deals, like one with Pinterest and Tastemade that includes short videos guiding drinkers how to use beer bottles to make holiday trinkets like floral arrangements or festive lanterns.
It sounds more Martha Stewart than Joe Sixpack—but the importer of Heineken, Dos Equis and Tecate is banking on Pinterest’s rising popularity to help it sell more beer this holiday season as more people hunker down at home.
“Pinterest has become a huge platform,” says Heineken USA marketing VP Alison Payne, echoing the sentiments of other marketers that are increasingly turning to the channel to escape the rough-and-tumble environment on Facebook.
“If you are stuck at home, what are you doing?” Payne asks on the latest edition of Ad Age’s “Marketer’s Brief” podcast. “You are cooking—everyone was baking bread like crazy—you are in your home more, people are home decorating, and Pinterest is a great platform for that information where consumers are going ... escaping the Facebook nightmare and the doom-scrolling … and fake news and things like that.”
Heineken was among dozens of marketers that participated in the July Facebook ad boycott over the social network’s hate speech policies. Payne, who oversees the importer’s Mexican beer portfolio, confirms Heineken USA is back on Facebook, calling it “still an important platform for us to engage in.” But she calls Pinterest a place where “people can positively engage with our brands.”
On the podcast, Payne also talks about the marketer’s increased investment in e-commecre, which has become a necessity for alcohol marketers trying to maintain steady sales during the pandemic.
She touches, too, on Heineken USA’s innovation push, which includes new products like a variety of Dos Equis that is flavored with lime and salt, inspired by a longtime serving style of the beer popularized in Texas. The canned ready-to-drink version recently launched in the Lone Star State as well as New Mexico, Arizona, California, Louisiana and Oklahoma, with Florida next on the list.
Other new products include Canijilla, a hard seltzer brand from Mexico that comes in Mango Picosito and Limón-Pepino flavors, that will target Mexican Americans and initially be sold in San Bernardino, California and McAllen, Texas. The approach of debuting it in select cities follows Heineken USA’s “test and learn” model.
“We’ve got a lot of little test cases going on,” Payne says. “It’s a way of failing fast as well and then putting our money behind the things we know will work.”