Heineken Leaves 'Legends' Behind, Talks About Beer Again

Product-Focused 'There's More Behind the Star' Campaign Stars Benicio del Toro

Published On
Feb 29, 2016

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Heineken is replacing its image-obsessed "Legends" campaign with a new approach that makes the beer the star. But the product-focused effort, called "There's More Behind the Star," will attempt to maintain some of the charm of the old campaign by using an Academy Award-winning actor to sell the message.

Benicio del Toro, who won an Oscar for his role in the 2000 movie "Traffic," will appear in ads breaking on Monday that use humor to tout Heineken's presence in 192 countries. Future ads will promote Heineken's continued use of its original recipe with just three ingredients: water, hops and barley. Other spots will play up the founding Heineken family.

The global campaign's creation was led by Heineken's U.S. division but will eventually run in 70 countries. The agency is Publicis Worldwide, which worked on the effort from its offices in New York and Italy. The ads were filmed in Barcelona.

The tagline has a double meaning, referring to the Heineken brand's red star and the fact that Mr. del Toro is a star -- although the first spot, seen here, pokes some fun at his fame, or lackthereof, as a couple mistakes him for Antonio Banderas. Further digital films will show Mr. del Toro interacting with Heineken's global brewmaster Willem van Waesberghe.

Heineken will spend heavily behind the new message. The campaign includes six TV ads running through 2017, as well as five digital films. It will be backed by the largest media investment Heineken USA has ever made in the states, according to the brand. Heineken spent $104.6 million in measured media on the Heineken mega brand in 2014, the latest full year available from the Ad Age Datacenter, which uses Kantar Media figures.

Publicis Worldwide took over as the lead global agency for Heineken in June after the brand cut ties with Wieden & Kennedy.

To read more about the campaign, head over to AdAge.com.