Heineken Keeps It Old School

Heineken Keeps It Old School


Heineken aren’t the first brand to show old people partying in an ad – Taco Bell’s “Viva Mas” took a similar approach (and scored well) at the 2013 Super Bowl. But the beer brand’s latest campaign, created with Publicis, has a twist in its tail. After you’ve enjoyed the scenes of elderly ravers getting down, the ad hits you with its message: “Night belongs to the vaccinated”. Want to be out having fun? Get your jab.

It’s a message with particular resonance in European countries, where Covid vaccination is rapidly becoming a condition of entry in a lot of venues. We tested “The Night Is Young” in the UK, which is set to join them if Boris Johnson gets his way over vaccine passports (and with plenty of his own MPs grumbling, it’s far from a sure thing).

The topic is an emotive one, in other words – more so than you might expect from a beer ad. And indeed we see a higher amount of negative emotion than usual – though not from the message. Instead a small degree of contempt and anger bubble along throughout the ad – some people just don’t like seeing their elders having fun, maybe.

Fortunately such ageism is a minority response. The ad also generates a whole lot of happiness and surprise, and that doesn’t change when it turns out to be a vaccination PSA in disguise. “The Night Is Young” ends up at a strong 4-Star score. Perhaps more to the point, its Spike score – representing short-term sales – is truly exceptional: hopefully it’ll push some viewers to get jabs as well as buy beer. The positive message also doesn’t take away from strong branding, with an excellent 96% Brand Fluency score.

All in all “The Night Is Young” is a bold and strong piece of work from Heineken, more so when you consider how raw the topics of Covid and vaccination are and how the brand could have been seen as trivialising or mocking the issues involved. Instead they got it absolutely right, and the very warm response the ad got with our viewers proves it.

Creative agency credit: Publicis