As the World’s Bars Reopen, Heineken’s Ad About Social Distancing Is 100% Relatable

Publicis Italy captures the joy and awkwardness of the new normal

Woman wearing a mask with a birthday cake
Heineken both pokes fun at and celebrates the new rules aimed at keeping bar patrons safe. Heineken

LONDON—If you live in a region that’s made it through the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic and you’ve been brave enough to venture back into a bar, you’ll know that it’s a bit of an unusual experience: hand sanitizer everywhere, people wearing masks, black and yellow tape marking where you can and cannot stand to maintain social distancing.

And while getting back to nightlife might help lives feel a bit more “normal,” there’s no denying it’s a type of new normal–one that is both familiar and alien as we adjust to living with the coronavirus.

Heineken perfectly captures that sense of joy and awkwardness in its latest campaign by Publicis Italy.

It features customers wearing masks, straining to social distance on the way to the loos and forgoing a high five in favor of elbow bumping.

The spot, which will run on TV across multiple markets and online including in Holland and Brazil, is titled “back to the bars” and celebrates the re-opening of bars while reminding consumers to behave responsibly by respecting safety regulations.

The call to action at the end is “socialize responsibly to keep bars open,” reminding people not to let safeguarding measures fall by the wayside after a few beers.

The campaign will also feature activities in bars and pubs.

“Given the unprecedented circumstances we find ourselves in, we looked at how we can play a part in helping our consumers cope with the current situation, and also specifically on how we can support our on-trade partners to weather the extremely challenging business climate,” said Bram Westenbrink, Heineken senior director of global brand.

“We were inspired by real life experiences that everyone can relate to,” he said. “Whilst the new bar experience can be awkward and may take time getting used to for customers and bar staff, we wanted to celebrate their return and remind people that respecting the new rules is important. After all, there’s one thing better than the first night out: another night out.”

CREDITS:

Client: Heineken
Bram Westenbrink, Heineken senior director global Heineken brand
Daniela Iebba, global integrated communication & CMI manager
Jose Antonio Casillas, global communication manager Heineken brand team

Agency: Publicis Italy
Global chief creative officer, world wide: Bruno Bertelli
Chief creative officer, Publicis Italy: Cristiana Boccassini
Global executive creative director: Mihnea Gheorghiu
Global creative director: Eoin Sherry, Sandra Bold
Creative supervisor: Marie Poumeyrol
Copywriter: Alex Sinmaleza
Copywriter: Margherita Teodori
Art Director: Thomas Aito
Global strategy director: James Moore
Senior strategic planner: Rafael Trevisan
Head TV production: Francesca Zazzera
TV producer: Sanam Bartoletti
Global client service director: Eleni Charakleia
Account supervisor: Gonzalo Gutierrez, Jan Wojtkowski
Post producer: Sabrina Sanfratello

“Birthday” digital pill:
Senior copywriter: Sara Rosset
Art director: Giulia Di Filippo

Production company: MJZ
Director: Nicolai Fuglsig
DOP: Ruben Impens
Executive producer. Helen Kenny
Producer: Tim Wild
Editors: Fabrizio Rossetti, Fabrizio Squeo
Post production company: MPC
Colorist: Jean Clement Souret
FX supervisor: Kamen Markov
Executive producer: Dafydd Upsdell
Post producer: Amie Kingsnorth
Music supervision: Michael Bertoldini, Sizzer


@saramayspary sara.spary@adweek.com Sara Spary is a freelance journalist based in London. She's been a reporter for eight years, covering advertising and consumer brands.
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