In a category dominated by U.S.manufacturers, Heineken recently launched Heineken Premium Light (HPL) to compete in a market that constitutes half of all beer consumed. To distinguish its entry, it has come up with nontraditional media approaches to launch its light beer and its distinctive packaging.The HPL can looks rather like a Red Bull can, a “slim” version of a normal aluminum can. Heineken is creating buzz for its new product by taking the bottle to places it usually is not allowed. For example, in ads, the bottle was taken out of a nightclub inNew York, onto the beach, and next to the pool. Television commercials feature Pharrell Williams and Gwen Stefani dancing to the song “Can I Have It Like That.”

To encourage adoption, Heineken has organized a massive sampling campaign, dressing models as airline pilots and flight attendants to visit bars with free samples. Contrary to what consumers might think, HPL is not robust like Heineken, so the sampling to helping to prove this..

The marketing campaign also employs unique packaging: the mini-keg and the HPL 5-liter keg, to be sold in stores this fall. These home keg systems inject short-term carbonation for a draught-style beer pour and offer something different to customers.

Thus far, Heineken seems to have been successful with its complementary keg products and chic packaging. The $70 million advertising budget for 2007, followed by $49 million to be spent in 2006, suggests the company expects HPL to be a major import hit!

Discussion Questions:

  1. How is the Heineken’s mini-keg beneficial for the sale of Heineken beer?

2. What other elements of the marketing mix set HPL apart from other beers?

Mike Beirne, “Heineken USA is Bullish On Red Bull-ish Can Design,” Brandweek, June 18, 2007.