It used to be about painting the town red, but Heineken is busy painting 150 London pubs in its corporate green as it activates the latest phase of its ongoing Celebrate London 2012 Olympic campaign.
The Dutch-owned brewer is kitting out selected London pubs with a slew of banners, posters, beer taps and Olympic-branded glassware (as well as kitting out bar staff Heineken uniforms) all in the brand’s recognisable bottle green.
Heineken, the official lager supplier and sponsor of London 2012, is a Tier Three LOCOG sponsor with exclusive pouring rights for its beer and cider brands. It will be serving both flagship Heineken and Amstel brands across Olympic venues.
The move is part of the wider Celebrate London 2012 initiative – which revolves around a programme website and includes a range of marketing activity.
Other strands of this work include a ‘text to win’ competition that offers beer drinkers the chance to win tickets to Olympic parties. This promotion is running in partnership with pub owner JD Wetherspoon in 850 of its outlets.
This initiative sees the brand ramp up its Games marketing. The brewer expects to sell a staggering 2.2 million extra pints of Heineken across London during the Games.
‘The Olympics is going to be fantastic,‘ said Heineken sales managing director Lawson Mountstevens. ‘There’s a real wow factor about it and it’s a great opportunity for us to showcase the great British pub.’
On a more patriotic front related to its home country, Heineken is taking over Alexander Palace to host the Dutch Olympic Committee and team during the game with a venue it is branding ‘Holland Heineken House’. See previous case study.
When LOCOG appointed Heineken UK, Britain’s leading brewer, as Official Lager Supplier and sponsor of London 2012 in a tier three sponsorship deal last year, Heineken’s chief commercial officer Alexis Nasard said that the company’s decision to become an official Olympic sponsor was because the Games’ status as the biggest, global spectacular event reflects Heineken’s global brand position.
Nasard also stated that it also provides ‘a wonderful platform for the promotion of responsible drinking’.
But the brewer itself is reported to be planning a cultural shift towards crowd-sourced marketing and inviting more design and communication ideas from fans and drinkers.
This may mark a move from Heineken away from the major official music and sports partnerships (including long-term sponsorship of events such as the UEFA Champions League and the Rugby World Cup) which have long been a staple of its marketing (and that of many competitors in the alcohol sector).
Or it may just be the brand having the foresight to lay the groundwork for some markets that are threatening to introduce tougher alcohol brand sponsorship legislation.