When creatives at Publicis in New York were assigned an African American-targeted spot for Heineken, they wanted to ensure it was believable. So they focused on how widely black culture has transversed the world. “The black man is the most-imitated man on the planet, and it’s across the globe,” says art director Della Mathew. With that in mind, Mathew, along with copywriter Brian Wiesenthal, crafted an ad that broke last week showing two Japanese men buying 40s in a bodega, until they see a cool-looking African American buying Heineken, which they then buy. Creatives found the star of the ad, James Smith, a barber from Queens, at Jay Z’s 40/40 Club in New York, while the Japanese men in the spot, Daisuke Takayama and Noritaka Maeda, are both hip-hop stars in their own right. “Everybody we found was really authentic,” Mathews says.
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