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Heineken scores a goal with their social media event

If you need proof that social media and social media events are changing the way marketing works, look no further than Italy.

You could also chalk this up to guerilla marketing, activation marketing, integrated campaigns, or any other of a number of monikers, but the results are the same: an engaged audience and a tremendous amount of media buzz.

The most anticipated soccer match of the season between AC Milan and Real Madrid was quickly approaching. Men all across Italy were planning to get together to watch the game. Heineken had a few ads running about how men are loosing the chance to have time with the guys to watch games and bond. But that wasn't all that the beer maker had in the works.

Heineken recruited 200 accomplices — girlfriends, bosses, journalists — to persuade more than 1000 others to attend a fake classical music and poetry event instead of going to the match or watching it on TV. Some of these persuasive moments were caught on video. And as participants arrived at the event, they were also being filmed. 

About fifteen minutes into the performance, just as most of the men in attendance started looking bored or squirming in their seats, clues started to appear on screen that things might not be as they appeared. Heineken revealed the trickery and started a video feed of the match just as the game was underway. Heineken was the hero, and undoubtedly served their beer at the event to further cement the relationship with these fans.

How did social media and guerilla marketing come into play? 

  • The event was broadcast live on Sky Sports TV to more than 1.5 million viewers.
  • More than 10 million people saw footage the next day on local news and cable channels like MTV
  • The campaign net more than five million unique page views across sports and entertainment forums, blogs, and social media sites. 

Not a bad ROI for the cost of a video feed, hall rental, quartet, payment to the 200 accomplices and beer. And it affirmed the Heineken brand tag line "Made to Entertain."

For help creating buzz around your brand, contact Debi at Brand New Concept Marketing.

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