Heineken had two fairly major hits in 2011 as part of its then-new "Open Your World" global ad campaign. "The Entrance" and "The Date," two 90-second spots from Wieden + Kennedy in Amsterdam, were both well received and award winning (gold and bronze at Cannes, respectively), heavy on the panache and mostly light on their feet. Now, the brewer turns to another Amsterdam shop, TBWA\Neboko, for the third spot in the series.
"The Switch," directed by Stink's Martin Krejci, is more of a buddy picture than the previous two spots. While the earlier ads focused on the fantastical powers of a single man, this one features three friends showing up at a sleazy bar on the outskirts of a nondescript city. Things look grim—until they order three Heinekens. Suddenly, the place springs supernaturally to life. The bartender kicks his cranky bar to life with a gearshift and pedal, and rips off his grubbly old flannel shirt to reveal a crisp white tuxedo. Walls and floors rise and fall, good-looking people appear out of nowhere, and the pathetic piano player is spun underground to reveal Clairy Browne & the Bangin' Rackettes—an Australian soul-train band more than a little inspired by the late Amy Winehouse. (The campaign leans heavily on musical acts. "The Entrance" memorably featured a performance by the Asteroids Galaxy Tour.) Two-thirds of the way through the spot, the bar apparatus experiences a threatening hiccup, but one of our heroes keeps the party going with a single kick.
The idea here—that Heineken will enliven even the most unpromising environs—helps push the product more explicitly than did the other ads, which were almost completely about style over substance. But it's still a brand play, and fits snugly into Heineken's ongoing magic-tinted promises of unexpected fun. Question is: Who gets the next round?
Spot: "The Switch"
Heineken Int.: Sandrine Huijgen, Sarah Nisenbaum
Heineken NL.: Hans Bohm, Ralph Rijks, Rob van Griensven
Agency: TBWA\Neboko, Amsterdam
Art: Niels de Kuiper
Copy: Sander Volleman
Creative director: Jeroen van de Sande
Producer: Rosemarie Praaning
Account: Patritia Pahladsingh, Jascha Hoogendijk, Joeri Bakker, Jeroen Konings
Strategy: Daan Remarque
Production: Stink London
Director: Martin Krejci
Executive Producer: Edward Grann
Producer: Malachy McAnney
Offline Editor: Fillip Malasek
Music: Clairy Browne & the Bangin’ Rackettes
Intro music: The Ambassadors
Sound studio: The Ambassadors
Grading: Scott Harris (Glassworks) / Seamus O’Kane (The Mill)
Post production: Glassworks Amsterdam
Set art director: Max Gottlieb