Brand Awareness for Heineken’s New Beer Quickly Reached 23% With Mobile Push

Tactic pays off for tequila-inspired drink

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Mobile advertising has long been regarded as a tactic for retailers and brands to drive conversions and lead generation, but that stereotype is changing to favor brand-building, according to Heineken's senior media director Ron Amram. 

During a session about mobile and native advertising at Advertising Week, Amram talked about a campaign that the beer company is employing this year to launch a new brand called Desperados, which mixes beer and tequila flavors.

Desperados is a high-energy beer brand and is only sold in the southeast region of the U.S. It is aimed at a specific type of consumer interested in nightlife, so Heineken ran mobile ads targeted at specific times of the week with contextual creative.

Initially, Heineken's campaign was less focused on mobile, although Amram did not say which mediums were used. Once a mobile component was turned on, Amram said brand awareness shot up. Now, the beer brand is looking to run native ad campaigns.

"The campaign is now 100 percent focused on mobile, and we just launched it this year," Amram said. "Within three months, we went from zero awareness in that part of the U.S. to 23 percent awareness."

Similar to other beer brands, Heineken's more focused on brand-building than driving sales from ads served to smartphones, meaning that marketing spend slants toward native formats versus direct-response ads.

"What we're attributing [the increase in brand awareness to] is literally context and personalization," Amram said. "Using the right media type in front of the right person at the right time when they're most receptive to it was—to be honest—the more magical part of it."

@laurenjohnson Lauren Johnson is a senior technology editor for Adweek, where she specializes in covering mobile, social platforms and emerging tech.