Heineken & DJ Armin Van Buuren’s ‘Drink More/Dance Slow’ Social Experiment

Dance More, Drink Slow (#DMDS) is a Heineken responsible drinking campaign spanning 12 markets aimed at testing the hypothesis that the better the music, the more likely people are to hit the dance floor, and consequently drink less.


The music and dance led initiative was not a classic sponsorship, but rather a partnership between Heineken Dutch music producer and DJ Armin van Buuren


The global beer brand and the DJ, in tandem with agency Starcom MediaVest, effectively ran the campaign as a form of a social experiment comparing drinking/dancing behaviour across two equal nights.


Same club, same amount of people, same time, with only one difference: The DJ on night two was the legendary Armin van Buuren. Significantly fewer drinks were consumed on the second night – effectively proving music’s power to change behaviour in bar.


The #DMDS experiment was turned into online content and the music video for bespoke campaign anthem ‘Save My Night’ by Armin van Buuren, specifically integrating this proof point into content men sought out and would enjoy – rather than pushing irrelevant brand led messaging.



The communications targeted properties that had on-going relationships with the brand’s audience around club culture and could talk to them in their language, right before heading out.


Additional tailored content was created to fuel earned coverage, including 1-2-1 access to Armin Van Buuren, special events and exclusive previews of the ‘Save my Night’ track.


With this the ‘Dance More Drink Slow’ movement started, tagged across social media as #DMDS.


The campaign launched on the official release day of the ‘Save My Night’ music video, using targeted online channels, paid social, radio and experiential to build natural connections with this party-loving audience.



The #DMDS film and Armin’s ‘Save My Night’ music video was seeded in music and male lifestyle online properties. Primary viewership was through negotiated editorial and rich media players which heightened the association with Armin van Buuren.


The brand intercepted guys as they were gearing up for a night out, using a partnership with Spotify to drive them to listen and share Armin’s ‘Save My Night’ track, instead of pushing brand led messaging which would feel forced and irrelevant.


The ‘Save My Night’ track was effectively promoted by Heineken and the music industry being distributed to radio and online music networks; being introduced, talked about and played for free worldwide.


This inspiring platform was brought to life in nightclubs where people are most adverse to communications, but at most risk. Local #DMDS battles owned event locations, where DJs inspired by Armin’s lead, battled it out to see who could keep people dancing longer. Party-goers connected with the benefits of moderation, in a way that cut-through and inspired them while local DJ’s became promoters of a responsible drinking message extending the local relevancy of the global movement.




Clearly excessive drinking amongst young men is a global problem, and mostly occurs on a night out when they are least susceptible to responsible drinking messages.


Perceptions and subsequent behaviour is in steady decline, with the common belief that if you write yourself off (get hammered, plastered, smashed…), you had a great night – which is a far cry from reality.


Heineken wanted to deliver a responsible drinking message that worked – that young people actually wanted to hear and something they would think is cool and would respond to.


Looking at a night out in bars and clubs it was evident music and DJ’s played a clear role in enjoyment. Music, in the right hands, could act as a catalyst for change.


By showing – rather than telling – how drinking slower makes a night-out better, party goers would understand the tangible benefits of moderation.


With this catalyst, Heineken sought to step away from corporate preaching to start a social moderation movement, leveraging the influential power of DJ’s and the positive stimulus of dance culture to affect behaviour change at the point of consumption.


The #DMDS film became the most watched Heineken film ever, with 25.9 million views. The target loved the content with an average 55” dwell time – that’s +45yrs of engagement with a moderate drinking message.


Armin Van Buuren’s track ‘Save my night’ was streamed over 690,000 times on Spotify – 72% of these listens coming from young men. The track topped the chart in 27 countries, being remixed over 100 times. The music video was viewed over 1.2m times.


#DMDS gained phenomenal earned coverage. Across 25 markets, over 500 pieces were published, giving an incredible estimated 5.8 billion earned impressions, with a 92% positive sentiment.


To date 2,320 DJ’s have joined the movement. #DMDS events have been held across the world, with over half a million music fans attending.


Most importantly Heineken saw +9% increase in agreement with ‘If I drink less during a night out, I enjoy it more’, impacting perceptions and stimulating our desired behaviour change.


Even in the absence of brand KPI’s we saw a halo effect with positive shifts in ‘makes relevant statements’ +10%, ‘great brand for me’ +8% and ‘would recommend/promote’ +18%.


Proving you can build affinity even with a social responsibility message.




Heineken Dance More Drink Slow website



Armin Van Buuren Website




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