Heineken’s recently released short video “Worlds Apart” quickly lit up the internet (3.6 mil views in 8 days) and the ad commentariat. “Worlds Apart” puts together individuals with diametrically opposed attitudes about feminism, climate change and transgender issues (they’re unaware of the differences at the outset) and tasks them to work together to build a bar. At the end of four and a half minutes, the video falls back on a very, very familiar theme: the value of adults discussing issues/differences over a beer, even if those differences are deep. Unlike the quickly pulled and much disparaged recent Pepsi ad that attempted to tackle a similar theme, the Heineken ad does not use professional actors, does not have a celebrity and offers very light brand message.
Response has been mixed but decidedly positive from what we’ve seen: i.e. “A Heineken commercial puts Pepsi’s ‘protest’ ad to shame” (Business Insider), “Hey Pepsi, Here’s How It’s Done. Heineken Takes on Our Differences, and Nails It” (Adweek); “Heineken ‘Worlds Apart’ Ad Is A Beautiful Blend of Beer and Politics” (HuffPost). There were skeptics, who complained that Heineken’s trying to sell beer after all, and critics, apparently from the alt-right uncomfortable with the positive portrayal of a transgender person. And all points of view aren’t yet in. Regardless of what one thinks of President’s Obama’s famous 2009 “beer summit,” to the extent that theme survives and has value can’t hurt beer, especially in such a polarized political climate. Whether Heineken has effectively channeled it is up for debate. But is there a better pro-beer meme out there?