Candidate for controversy? Heineken admits to ‘unusual’ digital campaign


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Winner of Heineken's The Candidate, Guy Luchting
Winner of Heineken's The Candidate, Guy Luchting
Heineken acknowledges that its controversial online campaign The Candidate is ‘unusual’ but insists it handled the video’s young participants correctly and did not expose them to undue stress.

The video – which you can watch below – follows a real-life recruitment process that involved Heineken sifting through 1734 young hopefuls then secretly filming an unusual interview process that sees it sift through the final shortlist.

Posted on YouTube on February 19, The Candidate ​is an undoubted internet success story (3.158m views and counting), and sets a fairly high shockability bar​ that Carlsberg’s, Carlsberg Puts Friends to the Test​, arguably vaulted over with ease: 1.96m views, issued March 12.

Asked for its reaction to the charge that the video was inappropriate, in that it exposed people unwittingly to stress in the name of fun, a Heineken spokesperson conceded to that the video was “unusual”​.

Job candidates treated properly

“The situation was created in such a way that the interviewees did not know they were going to have an unusual interview,” ​the spokesperson said.

“But afterwards they all had debriefs and consultations with the team,”​ they added. “Obviously the objective was to convey what we all believe, that Heineken sets itself apart through innovative approaches to marketing and brand development.”

To do just that via a recruitment campaign for an intern, with the video aimed at such ambitious young people, the spokesperson added, “We think they will appreciate the kind of approach we have taken.”

“I am very confident that the way the process has been handled means that we haven’t traumatized people. The internal feeling on the campaign is very positive,”​ the Heineken spokesperson said.

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