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Online Commercial Case Study #1: “Worlds Apart” Heineken (Social Responsibility)

May 15, 2017

At Front Runner Films we get our kicks by exploring the many creative solutions that video content can provide for business’. We believe that every company has a story to tell and an obstacle in telling it. In this series of blog articles we take a deeper look at some of our favorite online video marketing campaigns, and what has made them such a success.

Case Study: “Worlds Apart”

  • Client: Heineken
  • Agency: Publicis London
  • Year: 2017
  • Distribution: The video was originally launched on YouTube, with support across social media platforms.

The Problem:

The world is in turmoil. With controversial election results in the US, France and the UK, Brexit and the threat to the European Union, current military involvements and impending wars as well as very public and fiery debates regarding the rights of minority groups, not to mention climate change…so, who cares about beer? How does a well-known brand such as Heineken really grab the attention of a world population who have their hearts and minds on more serious topics?

The Solution:

Forget attractive and scantily clad women, forget bro-talk, man-caves and ball games…this called for something radically different. Publicis London proposed a social experiment in place of a scripted, glamorous advertisement. As part of the project, which forms part of Heineken’s ongoing “Open Your World” campaign, this initial video release has a simple premise: get two people who disagree with each other on a particular issue, place them in a room together, and let them talk it out over a beer. The setting is a warehouse, the participants answer predetermined questions, they then must work together as a team to build a bar, and then video of former (very opinionated) interviews are screened. The participants then have a choice – leave now or stay and have a beer. (It IS a beer commercial after all!). Although it feels as if those particular people were chosen because their views are extreme and not necessarily representative of the majority of persons who share their overarching beliefs, the overall set-up feels authentic, and the message is clear: let’s agree to disagree, whilst making some effort to empathize with the “enemy”.

The Results:

In the first three weeks the video received over 1,229,529 views on youtube alone. Pretty impressive. There was coverage across all major online media sites and some broadcast news services. The real conversation happened on Twitter with the hashtag: #OpenYourWorld, producing 1,618,198 Impressions to date.

So – Heineken got the exposure they were looking for. Are people choosing Heineken over other beer options because of the ad? That’s harder to measure. But a campaign like this is more about Brand Association, it’s a slow-burn plan to distinguish the brand as current, punchy, daring and perhaps most importantly – caring. And in this respect, I think they have succeeded.

Whether the campaign will help to break down barriers and produce more open-minded thinking, there’s some evidence to suggest it might. A number of studies have shown that short, casual, in-person conversations with someone with an opposing viewpoint is one of the easiest paths to changing someone’s mind. Perhaps there will be a knock-on effect if those that watch this series in turn have their own intimate conversation with people with opposing views. Let’s hope so!


Can beer save the world? Maybe not. But perhaps socially responsible advertising that promotes healthy conversation can help. Authenticity and originality remain two of the strongest driving forces behind the most successful branded video content. Using a very current, political setting for this piece may be deemed a little risque, but the authentic nature of it expands it out to a wide demo regardless. The combination of a heartfelt, passionate storytelling, and an underlying message of acceptance (as opposed to taking sides), produced a branded video that not only provided compelling entertainment (hello Reality TV phenomenon), but also challenged the viewer to the point that they felt compelled to share it with their friends.

References: (original video)… (official supporting website) (creative agency)

Front Runner Films is a Los Angeles based, award-winning Production Company specializing in telling humorous and unique stories for business. We are experts in finding the heart of your company’s story and communicating it effectively in the form of commercials, corporate and branding videos produced to the highest quality on time and on budget. Every time. Because we love what we do. Find out more about us here.

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Front Runner Films is a corporate video production company telling humorous and heartfelt stories helping bring products, companies and passion to light.

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