How to Re-Brand the Heineken Way

If you pay attention to the advertising, Heineken drinkers are affluent, worldly and educated. You won’t see Heineken at a kegger but you might see it served at a wedding reception. Ask for a “Heineken Light” at these events, however, and you might be met with a blank stare.

Since its launch in 2006, Heineken Light has seen less than stellar sales. According to an AdAge story on the topic, light beer sales only comprise 1% of the market that is, predictably, dominated by the American giants – Coors, Bud and Miller. In 2010, Heineken Light finished 10th in sales amongst imports, and this is a beer that’s only sold in America.

So, how is Heineken working its way to make people “see the light”? A new campaign which does something in stark contrast to most campaigns you’ll see on TV this year: admits their faults. Light beer is known not just for being lower in calories, but also lower in alcohol. Depending on whom you ask, that’s a bad thing. Unless, of course, you’re Heineken. The new tag line for Light is “Occasionally Perfect.” Going to meet your girlfriend’s parents for the first time and need to keep your cool? At a business lunch? Heineken Light is, literally, occasionally perfect and is now being marketed as such.

What is Heineken doing right with their new advertising strategy? Well, just about everything. With sales slumping, it takes a unique and memorable campaign to get people focused on your product again. Not to mention–based on those sales numbers–it’s clear that their former strategy wasn’t doing much for them. Heineken wasn’t afraid to switch gears and try at a different angle.

Heineken’s strategy for marketing their light beer might not be the first of its kind, but it deserves an eyebrow raise. The next time your sales are slumping and your advertisements aren’t catching enough eyes, just try what Heineken did: something new.