The one lurking behind the lamppost looks guilty as sin. Actually, this oddball series of ads is full of predatory bottle openers. One lurks in an alley as a lone Heineken comes down the sidewalk; a sharklike school of them encircles a shipwrecked Heineken; several others stand in a police lineup. The effect is slightly sinister, which you might consider a shortcoming. But then, who among us does not aspire to seem a bit sinister every now and then? If buying a bottle of Heineken can make you feel you’ve vented your darker impulses, so much the better for you, the brewer and society at large. The campaign is fun, and it’ll have people wondering what the brand will do next. Still, the slogan, “It could only be Heineken,” points to the potential pitfall of ads that impose an imaginative schtick on a brand. Could it only be Heineken, or could ads like these as easily tout any brand that had the wherewithal to hire a clever agency? One doesn’t necessarily feel the ads express the essential Heinekenness of Heineken.
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