dispatches from canadean international beer strategies conference, amsterdam

‘Cool is a big word’ Heineken on making moderation trendy

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT

#mysunrise: Heineken's campaign encouraged party-goers to drink in moderation and embrace new experiences
#mysunrise: Heineken's campaign encouraged party-goers to drink in moderation and embrace new experiences
Responsible drinking should not be promoted defensively, but treated in a way that is progressive, proactive, and an intrinsic part of a brand, says Heineken.

Heineken has earmarked responsible consumption as one of its four key areas in its ‘Brewing a Better Future’ pledge.  A new campaign will be released in the coming months.

But they key is how ​to promote moderation successfully, Anuraag Trikha, director global Heineken brand communication & digital, Heineken International said.

Moderation has to be made cool, he told attendees at the Canadean International Beer Strategies Conference in Amsterdam this month.

Where are we going wrong?

Moderation has missed the mark in the past, said Trikha.

“I noticed that this topic of responsibility was being spoken not by brands, but by companies,” ​he said. “It kind of felt like ‘what you shouldn’t do’. It felt like what your mum and dad made you feel like when you were 13. Don’t do this, don’t do that.

“We realised, as Heineken, we cannot do this and survive as a business. We need to somehow find a way of being part of the conversation with the 25-year-old in the world,” ​he added.

“The 25-year-old does not want to be told what not to do. He wants to be asked and encouraged and invited and enjoy something and - along the way - decide for himself what is right and wrong.”

Making moderation cool

Heineken’s principles for its responsible drinking campaigns include:

  • Making the Heineken brand the flagship of the conversation about moderation.
  • Encouraging quality over quantity.
  • Listening to consumers and leveraging the positive values of the generation
  • Use relevant channels to reach the audience, such as mobile phones, pubs and television.

Central to the campaign for moderation is the concept of being ‘cool,’ said Trikha.

“We know moderation is not an easy topic to make cool. It’s the most difficult topic we face as an industry,” ​he said.

“We want to make moderation cool. Why? Because if it’s not cool, it’s not worth doing in the world anymore.

“If someone says ‘that’s cool,’ it means they want to do it. Cool is a big word.”

'It is not defensive, it is not offensive, it is who we are'

Trikha points to some of Heineken’s responsible drinking campaigns.  

In 2011 it launched its ‘Sunrise’ campaign. A film showed drinkers celebrating throughout the night, turning down beer and choosing water instead, and then experiencing sunrise the next day.

“There are no limits when you know your limits… Heineken in moderation can be a way of connecting and engaging with friends, meeting new people and exploring new experiences,”​ said the campaign.

heineken dance more drink slow

Consumers were invited to share their own sunrise photos via social media.  

In 2014 Heineken partnered with DJ Armin Van Buuren for its ‘Dance More, Drink Slow’ campaign.

But as part of being ‘cool,’ you have to be fresh and current, said Trikha, and consequently Heineken will launch a new campaign in the coming months, although details are still under wraps.

“At Heineken, we treat moderation as a DNA of our business, it is at the heart of what we do,” ​said Trikha. “It is not defensive, it is not offensive, it is who we are.”

See the related news section below for more dispatches from the conference.

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1 comment


Posted by John Ndegwa,

In a world driven by showy consumerism, moderation is the next BIG brand; why have it for a few years if you can have it for a life time? Its just a case of preaching common sense over momentous gratification

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