There’s some science to back up Heineken’s new ad campaign.
You won’t find parties, loud music, or scantily-clothed women in Heineken’s latest ad campaign.
Instead, the beer company went in a wonderfully different direction.
The company’s #OpenYourWorld campaign is the exact opposite of what we’ve come to expect from decades of beer ads. The premise of the new ad is simple: get two people who disagree with each other on a particular issue, place them in a room together, and let them talk it out over a beer.
The ad features people who disagree on issues like climate change, feminism, and transgender rights.
There’s one important catch: The two people don’t know they disagree with each other when they first sit down.
After a few minutes of getting to know each other, the pair is shown short videos that reveal their dissenting opinions on a particular topic.
They’re then given a choice: They can leave, or they can try to hash out their differences over a beer. (It is a beer ad, after all.)
What makes the ad so brilliant is the flurry of emotions that cross each person’s face immediately after the big reveal.
“That’s not right,” one of the participants says in his pre-recorded video, taking a confidently anti-transgender stance. “You’re a man, be a man; or you’re a female, be a female.”
As the tape rolls, the woman he’s been speaking with looks to the ground, appearing uncomfortable and anxious. She is transgender. It was a powerful, intimidating, and suspenseful moment.
By the end of the ad, the man concedes that the “black and white” world he was brought up in is actually filled with more shades of gray than he’d been willing to give it credit for. His tone softens, and you can see that he’s considering the issue — and his drinking partner — in a whole new light.
Is sitting down over a beer really enough to overcome our differences?
Surprisingly, it turns out that the ad is pretty spot-on.
A number of studies have shown that short, casual, in-person conversations with someone with an opposing viewpoint is one of the easiest paths to changing someone’s mind.
This may very well be one of the few times where trying to mimic what you’ve seen in a beer ad is totally appropriate — and encouraged. It’s for the sake of humanity, after all.
You can check out the full ad below.
We weren’t paid by Heineken to write this (we’re upfront about that); we just think the ad has a great point.