Heineken sends anti-drunk driving messages on Waze

The beer brand reaches California consumers in their cars with program that begins this holiday weekend and runs all summer

Published On
May 28, 2021

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Californians using Waze to navigate to the beaches, parks, sports stadiums or bars this holiday weekend are likely to see a Heineken ad—not for a beer, but for a free Uber ride.

The marketer today is launching a first-of-its kind anti-drunk driving campaign that will serve messages to Waze users if they enter a destination in the GPS-enabled mapping app that is likely to be a place where alcohol is consumed. The text “when you drive, never drink” will appear along with a spot drivers can tap to redeem a free Uber ride.

Beer companies have a long history of giving away free rides during holiday weekends. Molson Coors, for instance, often pairs with Chicago’s transit system to sponsor free train and bus rides on New Year’s Eve. But Heineken’s program breaks new ground by confronting drivers while they are behind the wheel. The marketer says it is the first alcohol company to partner with Waze. 

“We are bringing this message into the car—the moment when you are on your way to think about having a good time … to remind [people] of the options that they have,” says Josephine Bertrams, Heineken USA's senior VP and chief corporate affairs officer. 

The program will run all summer, and Heineken plans on trying to expand it beyond California, potentially to states including Texas, Georgia and Florida, Bertrams says. It started in California because “It has a big driving culture,” Bertrams says.

The move is part of a broader anti-drunk driving campaign from Heineken dating back to 2016 that has included TV ads featuring Formula 1 stars, including legendary driver Jackie Stewart. The newest spot features former Formula 1 world champions Keke and Nico Rosberg.