Jeff Bridges becomes bridge across Amsterdam canal in Amstel campaign

It's the part he was born to play.

Heineken-owned beer brand Amstel has recruited Jeff Bridges to star in a surreal ad inspired by a shamelessly straightforward bit of wordplay.

The spot, "Bridges on bridges", was created by Adam & Eve/DDB and depicts a gigantic version of the actor immersed in an Amsterdam canal, hands intertwined, with his arms acting as a bridge for pedestrians and cyclists.

As he reaches over to pick up a colossal pint of Amstel from the canal side, the Big Lebowski star muses on the power of bridges to bring people together: "Amsterdam. The 'dam. A city where togetherness is king. And why do you think that is? Bridges, man. And I should know because, well, I’m Jeff Bridges.

"You see, a bridge is not just a physical structure that connects two places – they allow people to come together, find common ground and literally bridge their differences. They’re powerful things, man. So, from the city of bridges, here’s to togetherness."

It was created by Matt Fitch and Mark Lewis, and directed by Tim Godsall through Anonymous Content x Somesuch.

The spot will debut on TV during Googlebox on Channel 4 at 9pm on 3 May and will also run in cinemas and on video-on-demand and digital platforms. In addition, Amstel is planning a large PR campaign based on the role pubs play in bringing people together in the UK.

Nic Casby, brand director at Heineken, said the aim of the campaign was to increase awareness and salience for Amstel, which is experiencing rapid growth but has a relatively low profile in the UK compared with many lagers. This is especially true in the off-trade, where it was reintroduced in 2016. 

"We really wanted a campaign that would get the brand talked about," he said. "With Amsterdam, the brand’s home city, having plenty of famous cultural connotations, the initial discussions with the agency were about which of these could work to create something brave and culturally relevant."

Heineken first approached Bridges in September last year. Casby said he saw Bridges, who won an Oscar in 2010 for his performance in Crazy Heart, as "a fantastic, repeatable asset" and that he hoped the relationship would endure in a similar fashion to that of sister brand Kronenbourg 1664 and Eric Cantona.

Commenting on the campaign’s offbeat creative idea, Casby admitted that "you never totally know" how people will respond. "We’re hoping that it’s memorable for people, first and foremost," he said. "We hope the ridiculousness should be quite entertaining, but we also hope that people like the point of view."

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