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Advertising Week 10th Anniversary Official Guide

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222 BRAND ED That's how Tecate, the Mexican beer brand owned and distributed by Heineken USA, garnered close to 1.5 billion media impressions and an 87% positive senti- ment in social media conversations after their commercial "The Wall" came out just prior to the 2016 U.S. Presidential debates. At the time, then-presidential candidate Donald Trump had been stirring controversy with talk of building "a great wall along the southern border," adding that Mexico would pay for it. The Tecate commercial showed people from bordering countries sharing a few Tecates over a "beer wall" and humorously turning a tense moment into a great time. According to Esther García, Vice President of Marketing for Tecate and Tecate Light in the U.S., the brand had a right to a point of view on the issue, as their demographic is the bi-cultural Hispanic who is both proud of their Mexican heritage and excited about the opportunities the U.S. presents. Why did they do it? The spot, she says, acknowledged the ongoing political conver- sation while also raising a glass to beer's ability to bring people together. "We are a Mexican brand and the brewery is right on the border," she says. "You can walk to it from the U.S." Right before the Presidential debates, Tecate bought television spots on Fox News and the campaign took off on Twitter. "It was very lighthearted. That's the way we are. It's in our DNA," Garcia says, adding that it's important for a brand to always be true to itself and use its authentic tone of voice and personality. Sometimes a brand can add to a conversation by partnering with a non-profi t and working its product into a social experiment. Heineken UK's "Worlds Apart," cam- paign came out last spring in the U.K. to challenge a time of worldwide cultural tensions on topics like gender, feminism, and climate change. The brand partnered with Human Library™, a non-profi t organi- zation that uses conversation to challenge stereotypes, and fi lmed a real-life social experi- ment that brought together two strangers, unknowingly divided by cer- tain beliefs, to assemble a table and chairs. During the course of this joint effort, each team of two was asked icebreaker questions that helped them get to know, and ultimately to like, each other. Afterwards, they were shown fi lm clips in which their partner said things that surely made them cringe. Then, they were given the option to either leave, or to sit down at the table and chairs they had assembled, have a Heineken—and a conversation—with their partner. The results were heartwarming, as each team saw past labels and chose the beer and the talk, in an effort to better under- stand someone whom they had quickly come to like. The spot generated 1.4 billion media impressions globally, while starting countless dialogues. Brands should ask how they might bring perspective to a conversation that gives consumers something to think about and talk about with friends, whether in person or online. However, just because there's a hot topic in the news, it may not be appropriate for your brand to latch onto it. Think about whether your brand has anything to add to the conversation and whether it's truly authentic to your mission. How do brands avoid faltering? Brands need to be certain that they've earned the right to join a particular con- versation. Use your brand's authentic voice to reach your audience in the best way possible. If your brand doesn't belong there, don't go there. However, if the issue is part of your DNA, then fi nd a smart, relevant way to enter that arena and bring the audience along for the ride. •

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