INTEGRATED: marketing challenge; How Heineken teamed with MTV to reach a younger market
By MEG CARTER, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 30 August 1996 12:00AM
Meg Carter examines the brewer’s bid to target 18- to 24-year-olds by linking up with MTV and a nightclub
Meg Carter examines the brewer’s bid to target 18- to 24-year-olds by
linking up with MTV and a nightclub
It is traditionally the toughest market to reach - consumers in their
late teens and early 20s who are more comfortable out clubbing than
passively absorbing conventional media at home. That’s why Heineken is
taking its message straight to the dance-crazed masses with its current
pan-European co-promotion with MTV Europe and the cult London nightclub,
the Ministry of Sound.
The aim is to raise awareness of the Heineken brand as part of its
repositioning drive to attract 18- to 24-year-olds. Although in the past
it has been associated with a range of musical genres through
sponsorship and co-promotion, the client has never been associated with
clubs and dance music.
The three-way partnership involves Heineken sponsoring MTV’s new dance
show, Club MTV, and eight live club events organised by the Ministry of
Sound involving top DJs from across Europe. Known as the Green Room
European Tour, each night will be a key feature of the Club MTV show,
which starts at the beginning of September.
Built into the deal is spot advertising on MTV and a portfolio of
grassroots activities taking place locally around each event, co-
ordinated by Heineken’s regional brand managers and MTV’s recently
recruited team of locally based marketing specialists.
The idea for the promotion arose from two rounds of conversations that
Heineken had: one with MTV about sponsorship for a new club show and the
other with the media dependant, Motive Communications, which proposed a
tie-up with the Ministry of Sound.
‘It was essential for us to get closer to consumers aged between 18 and
25,’ Heineken’s spokesperson, Margritha Meiger, says. ‘We recently
sponsored Hotel Babylon on ITV in the UK and are now evaluating whether
to continue. But we soon realised the need to do more on the ground to
support our association on screen.’
Hotel Babylon proved a useful experience, not least in the light of the
fracas following Heineken’s apparent desire to have more of its brand
visible on-screen. Under European law, advertisers are not allowed to
pay to place products within a TV show, although involvement in staging
the live event used as the basis for a TV show gives Heineken greater
aditionally, Heineken uses international media to top up the bulk of its
advertising expenditure which goes on national outlets. Motive’s head of
international business, Susannah Outfin, says: ‘The question was how to
maximise our use of international media - the answer was to bring it
down to ground level, with investment in local, live activities.’
Louise Angus, vice-president for advertising sales at MTV Networks
Europe, says: ‘As far as we are concerned, just sticking a logo on the
end of a show never gives sufficient added value. For maximum impact,
the association must be integrated across all marketing activities.’
Between them, the three developed a strategy based on a centrally co-
ordinated pan-European campaign with regional grassroots marketing back-
up implemented locally. The Ministry of Sound’s involvement contributed
the know-how and credibility: the club is an established dance brand
with recording label, event organisation and merchandise divisions.
A potential obstacle was individual territories not supporting the
campaign. To overcome this in advance, Motive pitched the idea not only
to Heineken headquarters in the Netherlands but also to representatives
from its marketing departments in each local region.
MTV’s recent regional expansion strategy enables it to offer substantial
local support. The network sees itself as three: northern, central and
southern European services - with certain regional opt-outs for
‘Local marketing representatives can take advantage of last-minute
opportunities,’ Angus says. It is the first time MTV has run a fully
integrated pan-European campaign on behalf of any of its clients that
takes advantage of this new structure. ‘Reinforcing the on-air
association on the ground was key,’ she adds. Marketing materials were
produced centrally, with posters and flyers standard in each market.
‘The key benefit was the ability to use international media as an
amplifier for on-the-ground activities,’ Outfin says. ‘The Ministry of
Sound was a credible partner, not least because of its brand development
through managing live events, a record company, merchandise and
The result is a blend of broadcast and event sponsorship - ‘effective
advertising-supplied programming, spot advertising and below-the-line
promotion,’ Outfin says. Reluctant to comment on the final budget,
investment was around two-thirds on above- and one-third on below-the-
line activity, although everything is closely integrated - a must to
make the package work.
Evaluation will prove tricky, Outfin concedes, as Heineken is already
highly saturated throughout Europe. However, Angus is implementing
qualitative and quantitative research to monitor changes in perceptions
of the brand among the target market.
Heineken’s prime aim has been to convey a consistent message in each
market. To ensure this, the partnership must be longer term, allowing
time for build and modifications to ensure pay-back, expected by year
three: ‘By then, we hope to be able to see a trend towards the qualities
the brand now aspires to,’ Angus says.
This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk
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