Netherlands: Pro-vaccination ad causes campaigners to boycott Heineken

Heineken has become one of the first brands to openly position itself in the pro-vaccination campaign. On Thursday, Heineken ran a minute-long ad on social media titled ‘The Night is Young’. The commercial depicts seniors that are partying in a club with hardly any young people being around. The spot ends with the claim ‘The night belongs to the vaccinated’.

The message is clear. Only vaccinated people should be allowed to go to indoor events in clubs or bars. The brand is keen to encourage people armed with their double dose to socialize freely once more.

What sounds like a purely personal statement is more likely more of an economic strategy of Heineken. The brewer knows very well that only vaccination will help to prevent a new wave of COVID-19 in the fall and will keep on-trade open. In a statement, Heineken said the ad is “all about supporting the hospitality industry and getting back to the bars and restaurants safely so we can all be together again.” And it adds: “Our new campaign ‘The Night Is Young', celebrates the return to social life with seniors having carefree fun, to encourage also the young to get vaccinated.”

However, the new campaign does not only find friends.I wonder how many people die of alcohol related deaths compared to Covid? Terrible advert, what a shame…..,” read one of the posts on Twitter. Other users on Twitter were threatening to #BoycottHeineken and uploaded videos of themselves of pouring Heineken down their kitchen sinks.

AB InBev that obviously like most other brewers is on the same side as Heineken, took a slightly different approach and avoided a direct confrontation. The company announced earlier this year not to feature a commercial for its lead brand Budweiser during this year’s SuperBowl. Instead, AB InBev said it would donate portions of its advertising budget to the Ad Council, a nonprofit marketing group at the helm of a USD 50 million ad blitz to fight coronavirus vaccine skepticism. (, 25.1.2021)

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