Taglines have been a hallmark of beer advertising for decades. Some of the classic ones, like "Great Taste, Less Filling," "This Bud's For You" and "Head for the Mountains of Busch," endure even when they aren't actively used in ads. But Heineken USA with its newest campaign is putting an end to the practice of concocting a pithy phrase to sell suds, believing that the practice has gone staler than last week's beer.
The brewer conducted consumer research on the relevancy and recall of taglines in today's media environment and found diminishing returns. "The percentages were super low," says Bernardo Spielmann, senior brand director for the Heineken brand. "We said, 'Let's simplify the process.'"
So rather than ending ads with a cute phrase, new ads simply conclude with the word "Heineken" and its familiar red star logo. "We think that Heineken stands for a set of values rather than a set of words, and I think people will see that," says Heineken USA Chief Marketing Officer Jonnie Cahill. Internally, the brewer calls the campaign "Cheers to the Unexpected"—because they had to call it something—but beyond the press release, you won't see that phrase in consumer-facing assets.
Ads mark a change in direction from the brand's recent campaign, which began in early 2016 and starred actor Benicio del Toro. He plugged attributes like the beer's original recipe and that Heineken has been family-owned since 1873. The product and heritage focused campaign had a tagline, "There's More Behind the Star."
The new campaign attempts to reclaim the brand's standing as a social beverage with ads portraying it consumed in high-energy occasions, like soccer viewing and a wild party.