Heineken just made its mark on advertising after releasing their own version of Pepsi’s failed representation of world view conflict.
Heineken’s “Worlds Apart” video features an experiment where people of opposing views meet each other. The clip shows six people tackling topics like feminism, LGBTQ, and climate change.
The subjects were paired to their “opposites.” They were not introduced just yet, but they were placed in a large warehouse. The first task for them was to build their chairs and compile a couple of blocks to build a small sitting table.
The pairs were then asked to tell each other their first impressions and their similarities. The pairs seemed to be getting along.
Then, Heineken gave the pairs a tedious instruction to add more blocks on top of the small sitting table. After they finished, they have created a bar. They were then told to put the Heineken beer on top of the bar.
Finally, Heineken asked the pairs to watch a clip—featuring each other and their own world view. Each of them was startled to know that the person standing beside them represent the type of people they’re in opposition to.
There was unease and awkwardness, but the pair were given one last instruction.
“You may go, or you can stay and discuss differences over a beer.”
The clip showed the man opposite the transgender walking out as the other pairs continue to move toward the bar and decided to move their conversation forward. Thankfully, the man with strong views on the LGBTQ went back and said that he was just joking.
According to FastCompany, this is the type of political inclusion Pepsi failed to do in their advertising. Pepsi’s resistance tried to incorrectly represent the Black Lives Matter movement while featuring Kendall Jenner as their icon. To recap, Jenner’s ad showed that the conflict on the street protest and the police can simply be solved by handing a Pepsi to a police officer.
The ad garnered a lot of negative criticisms as well as witty memes featuring icons like Martin Luther King, Jr.
It was noted that the commercial was self-serving and that Pepsi did not think about the reality of the issue. They took advantage of the current events, the protests, and placed them all in a tasteless advertisement that’s supposed to highlight why Pepsi is everyone’s “saving grace.”
if only she'd given them a pepsi pic.twitter.com/rVM8jkJrG4— vicky mochama (@vmochama) April 4, 2017
Pepsi later apologized and pulled back the ad campaign.
“Clearly we missed the mark, and we apologize. We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are removing the content and halting any further rollout. We also apologize for putting Kendall Jenner in this position.”
Tackling political and social conflicts in company advertisement is a sensitive and tricky maneuver. However, if done right, the company can send the right message to the people, while at the same time being able to represent their brand.
What Heineken did was show everyone that despite each of our own differences, sitting down and talking to each other is far better than having anonymous, degrading banters on social media.
Just like what the man in the video said, he was surprised to know the person he’s talking to was a transgender. He said that in his world, he knew everything to be black and white, male or female. However, he realized that the world is not like that at all.
This kind of heady material is impossible to fully explore in a meaningful way within the space of a beer commercial. However, encouraging actual dialogue is a thousand times more of a mature and responsible way to address our current international predicament than glamorizing, fetishizing, and whitewashing the protest movement.
Watch the full Heineken “Worlds Apart” ad below.
[Feature Image by iStock/monticello]