Heineken Asia-Pacific (HAP, formerly Asia Pacific Breweries) were stuck. Known for being savvy marketers, they’d somehow failed to make much headway when it came to promoting awareness of their responsible drinking initiatives. It wasn’t for lack of effort: as part of its social contract, and also because it’s just good business, HAP has run such campaigns going back the past four years. And while popular response did improve from wave to wave, the responsibility messages just weren’t getting the kind of traction HAP was seeking.
Maybe that’s because, as with many well-meaning campaigns, “awareness” wasn’t the problem. With rising economies putting more spending money in our pockets, those who do drink are more able than ever to drink to excess when they want – the issue is all around us, as we can see every weekend.
Learning from behavioural science shows that modelling positive behaviour is more effective than rehashing the negative. But HAP also recognized that working against a completely new objective could bring the shakeup they needed. Forget about increasing awareness of responsible drinking, HAP would go back to selling: selling its audience the chance to own the responsibility message themselves.
This is a story of a campaign that did many things well – modelling positive behaviour, involving all facets of the hospitality industry, and recruiting both responsible and at-risk drinkers across Southeast Asia. When all was said and done, nearly 2 million people had bought into the campaign – nearly 13 times more than any previous HAP campaign.