business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

The notion of using brand advertising to address social issues has gotten some bad press in recent weeks, especially because of the ad campaign launched - and quickly pulled - by PepsiCo, in which it used model Kendall Jenner (of the notorious Jenner-Kardashian clan) to express a supposed solidarity with your people protesting in the streets. It seemed loud, tone-deaf, and manipulative, and caused the company to get all sorts of grief in the media. (MNB joined in, with enthusiasm.)

But now, at the opposite end of the spectrum, comes an extended commercial from Heineken that, while it was produced in the UK, has been getting a lot of positive notices. Called "Open Your World," the ad is designed to portray real-life people from diverse ends of the political and cultural spectrum debating their views, and (spoiler alert!) figuring out how to get along over a beer.

It is a kind of compressed version of reality television, and fascinating to watch ... not least because Heineken is treading on some tricky ground. It works, I think, because it feels authentic, and because the idea that problems and differences can be worked out over a beer seems entirely reasonable.

Take a look. I think it is an Eye-Opener. (And so did the several MNB readers who drew this ad to my attention. Thanks ... I appreciate it.)

KC's View: