Maybe it was Chance the Rapper. In March, the artist called a new Heineken ad racist, and many agreed with him. The spot for the brand’s light beer featured a bartender sliding a bottle of beer past a collection of dark-skinned extras to a light-skinned woman further down the bar, followed by the tagline, “Sometimes, lighter is better.” Heineken pulled the ad and responded to critics by saying the tagline referred solely to “the benefits of the beer itself,” adding, “unfortunately, the line has been misinterpreted by some people, [but] this was of course never our intention and we are taking the feedback to heart.”
Heineken’s “Open Your World” tagline has been around for years, but when the brand tested it recently, there was pushback for the first time. “The main pushback was, if you look at that tagline in a rational way, it asks the consumer to do something,” says Di Tondo. “It’s asking them to cross their own border. And this was adding to an already high level of stress they consider to have on their shoulders, compared to the previous generation.”
The new approach revolves around looking at life with a fresh perspective. “It’s inviting consumers to look at life to get the most out of it,” says Di Tondo. “We tested this approach and it resonated very well because it gives them a positive spin, and allows us as a brand to tell more light-hearted stories.”
Heineken is launching a new campaign of ads during the Italian Grand Prix Formula One race. To the casual observer, the spots are no different from the brand’s consistently goofy, if a bit cheeseball, ad approach–a big party! a misunderstanding!–like a beer version of a Mento’s ad. But there is one noticeable absence. A tagline.