Publicis Pulls a Little ‘Prankvertizing’ Stunt for Heineken with ‘The Dilemma’

By Erik Oster 

Publicis launched a new, soccer-themed prankvertising effort for Heineken entitled “The Dilemma.”

The spot begins by introducing viewers to Simone, a huge soccer fan who watches UEFA Champions League games with a small group of friends religiously. Then comes the dilemma: Simone is presented with a free ticket to the next match but doesn’t know what to tell his buddies. When he gets to the game, however, he’s in for a bit of surprise and must make a difficult decision on the spot. Pranks in advertising have mostly worn out their welcome, but as far as the approach goes this one is relatively benign, not resorting to the kind of cheap tricks we normally associate with the category. It’s also an approach that feels like it could resonate with fans of the brand and UEFA Champions League soccer. 

“With thousands of people watching, the whole thing was orchestrated around an entirely unaware guy,” one Publicis creative told Adweek. “One take at Olympic Stadium right before the Roma vs. Real Madrid match, no chance to make the second attempt—and not a single actor, all for real.”


Client: Heineken
Marketing Director: Floris Cobelens
Group Brand Manager: Cristina Gusmini
Brand Manager: Marta Grassi

Agency: Publicis
Executive Creative Director, Western Europe, CEO: Bruno Bertelli
Executive Creative Director, Italy: Cristiana Boccassini
Executive Creative Directors, Milan: Luca Cinquepalmi, Marco Venturelli
Associate Creative Directors: Bruno Vohwinkel, Aureliano Fontana, Polina Zabrodskaya
Art Director: Laura Aondio
Copywriter: Francesca Vitello
Strategic Planner Department: Bela Zieman James Moore
Account Department: Lorenza Montorfano, Giada Salerno, Maria Elena Gaglianese
Executive Producer: Silvia Cattaneo

Production Company: Bedeschi Film
Director: Giovanni Fantoni Modena
Director of Photography: Amilcare Canali
Executive Producer: Federico Salvi

Music: Universal “Fan for Life,” Universal “Creative State of Mind”