Heineken shows the power of story tellingPosted: March 22, 2010
Heineken recently created a wonderful stunt (see here) in Italy where they effectively conned 1100 people into attending a classical music concert with poetry thrown in, on the same night as a major soccer game. For the record Italians love soccer about as much as they do pasta and the Catholic church. The 1100 duped attendees yawned their way through 15 minutes of the event before it was revealed that it was a hoax and that instead of listening to some violinists and watching poetry appear on a large screen, they would instead get to watch their beloved soccer match. This news was greeted with huge applause. Various media were in attendance to see the joke be played and they duly broadcast news of the event with word spreading around the world.
To some extent, what made the event such a success was the simplicity of the idea and the fact that even I can capture the essence of the story in a single paragraph. What really made it a success though was that this was an entertaining story that people could tell at parties (as I did on Saturday night) and in bars around the world. Indeed it was the perfect tale to be told by one bar patron to another, presumably while sipping a Heineken. When you really think about this campaign you have to say it was wonderfully executed and a real triumph of marketing. Hopefully it will be recognized as such and become a case study from which others can learn.