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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

One sexy brew.

Heineken01thumb1While not a beer drinker--dirty martinis are this girl's poison--I'm appreciating the route Heineken is pursuing in positioning and promoting their premium light lager, Heineken Premium Light. It's the newcomer on the $30 billion-dollar domestic light-beer block.

First, the packaging: see the sleek bottle on the left with the small neck? Look at how it preserves the Heineken brand while setting itself apart from the packaging of their heavyweight brew.

Next, the ads: They've opted to make the beer even sexier by leaving women out of their TV ads (which beer and liquor ads are famous for) and produced this great :30 spot that started airing last summer featuring the bottle against the song "Don Cha" by the Pussycat Dolls (RSS readers: ad is here).

The results (from this BusinessWeek article) are impressive....

  • Higher price: At some bars Heineken Premium Light commands a 13% higher price-per-bottle than Bud Light.
  • Heightened projections: Sales estimates are up 50% for 2006 from the company's original projections.
  • Sky high forecasts: Analysts forecast Heineken will easily double sales of its light brew to more than 1 million barrels by year-end 2007, taking share from domestic and imported brews.

The sleek, slimmer and far more modern bottle design is "like a pretty girl you coveted," according to Harry Schumacher of Beer Business Daily. Yep, that's one sexy brew.


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Personally, my favorite beer and beer ads are the ones from Guinness.

(Drinking light beer is like kissing your sister.)

Heineken is doing a good job though... I'll give you that much.

What's the bet that Harry Schumacher is not in that 21-28 demographic?

i agree with tim about guinness. did they learn something from absolut? be cool inside, without testimonial and beuatiful people around.

Granted, Heineken's been a big success for quite some time. Aren't they the number-one imported brew (the non-light variety)? From a product-design standpoint, I'm with you. But I feel like the ads are a little contrived; they're piggy-backing on the mysterious popularity of the Dolls.

I wonder if the success of H. Light is more a testament to the enduring power of the Heineken brand--and their ability to pull off this extension with great packaging design and a tasty recipe--and less a result of the ads.

That commercial is paul kryptonite!

Nothing to do with the beer, though, it's just that FREAKING song!

Thanks all.

Tim: And here I thought with how much you talk about gaining weight from too much blogging that you'd be all over a light beer.

Katie: I doubt he's 21-28, I'll get back to you :-).

Gianandrea: They might have taken a page from Absolut's book.

Clay: I do think the way they're positioning is key and the light brand is a departure ad-wise and packaging-wise from their flagship brand. I think the look, messaging and ads are all beautifully orchestrated--and I'm not at all a fan of line extensions. But yes, they're definitely piggy-backing on the Dolls (and smartly so).

Paul: I love the beer against the song...brilliance. I wonder how many hours of footage it took for that 30 second spot.

OMG, that song is David Kryptonite too!

But CK, I totally get what you are saying—and I agree 100% about the bottle. When I first saw it, I instantly liked it. It's a great move by Heiny.

I still say light beer is just plain wrong... it's crime against humanity.

But Heineken is doing a cool job of marketing the stuff... I agree with that much.

Tim and I represent the authentic wing of the marketing party, where beer is beer. Sorry, had to put that in.

The HeinLite marketing is very slick -- beautiful packaging, nice advertising. And, at the end of the day, the dogs still have to eat the dogfood. Maybe they will. I tried it, but I'm more of a Sam Adams / Bass Ale / Sierra Nevada Pale guy. So I'll refrain from a taste test review here.

The dogs will vote. All in time.

Catchy music but it wouldn't make the sale for me. I'm in the corner with people that want a beer that has taste; light is almost like water.

Can I get some input from other beer drinkers----Heineken is only getting a 13% premium over Bud??? This does not sound right to me; if I were the Heineken product manager this would have me shaking; it puts the product almost at commodity level.

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