Neil Patrick Harris Tries to Explain Why Heineken Light Is St. Patrick’s Day’s Official Beer

Spokesman returns in brand's first work from Publicis

Neil Patrick Harris might be the best possible pitchman for Heineken Light, given that both are known for being versatile and unintimidating, but is the actor up to the challenge of making the Dutch beer seem Irish?

No. But at least he's willing to admit the awkward reality of Heineken Light being "the official beer of St. Patrick's Day" this year despite the fact that neither the brew nor its spokesperson happen to be Irish (a fact that does not escape Harris' troll-like co-star).

This new spot marks the beginning of an online-only series created by the New York office of Heineken's lead creative shop, Publicis Worldwide.

Heineken moved its advertising business from Wieden + Kennedy to Publicis last summer without a review, but kept NPH on as its go-to guy after a series of spots in which he starred as the brand's "reluctant endorser."

Publicis New York's first full campaign for the Heineken brand launched last month and starred Benicio Del Toro in a self-mocking video that aimed to bring more attention to the history of the company by reminding viewers, "There's more behind the star." This new ad makes clear, however, that future campaigns featuring Harris will keep things on the lighter side.

Andy Bird, North American chief creative officer at Publicis Worldwide, told Adweek, "This is the first in a series of digital videos for Heineken Light to come in 2016, and we felt St. Patrick's Day is the right time to call out Neil's useless Irish accent, even if it is by a legendary mythical figure."

He added: "NPH has been a spokesperson for Heineken Light for two previous campaigns already, and his style of humor fits the bill perfectly, in the same way that Benicio's slightly more intense style does for Heineken."

Expect more work in the same vein in coming weeks and months as Heineken aims to reintroduce its brand to consumers with two different types of humor: irreverent and historical.


Client: Heineken
Campaign Title: "Best Tasting Light"
Agency: Publicis Worldwide, New York and Italy

Chief Executive Officer, Executive Creative Director, Publicis Italy: Bruno Bertelli
Chief Creative Officer, Publicis North America: Andy Bird
Executive Vice President, Executive Creative Director, Publicis N.A.: Joe Johnson
Vice President, Creative Director, Publicis N.A.: Jason Gorman
Vice Presidents, Associate Creative Directors, Publicis N.A.: Einav Jacubovich, Josh Horn, Cuanan Cronwright
Copywriter, Publicis N.A.: Patrick Merritt
Senior Vice President, Creative Services Director, Publicis N.A.: Paul Daligan
Vice President, Executive Producer, Publicis N.A.: Tim LeGallo
Executive Vice President, Group Account Director, Publicis N.A.: Kathryn Harvey
Worldwide Account Director, Publicis Italy: David Pagnoni
Account Director, Publicis N.A.: Shari Lederman
Account Supervisor, Publicis N.A.: David Hoctor

Production Company: Radical Media
Director: Steve Miller
Executive Producer: Gregg Carlesimo
Line Producer: Matt O'Shea

Editing Company: Cutting Room
Editor: Sean McGrath
Executive Producer: Melissa Lubin
Producer: Kelly Ondris
Assistant Editor: Megan Katuran