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Heineken proves mobile worth

News, 04 December 2014

NEW YORK: Marketers at beer brand Heineken demonstrated the worth of mobile to sceptical executives earlier this year by showing how it could generate a significant level of brand awareness that traditional media had not been able to achieve.

Ron Amram, senior media director at Heineken USA, told a New York conference how he had launched Desperados, a tequila-infused beer, across five Southeastern states.

It was, he explained, aimed at "a very narrow slice of the beer-drinking universe" – in this case digitally engaged millennial night owls. "This is not a beer that you drink on a Sunday afternoon while you're watching a football game on television," he said in remarks reported by Ad Exchanger.

While it seemed clear that mobile was likely to be the best way to reach this demographic, Amram revealed that not everyone involved was convinced. "We get feedback like, 'Why don't you launch this brand on TV and use some traditional media? My kids love their mobile devices, but I'm not sure I'm comfortable putting a lot of energy, effort and money into this.'"

So for three months he ran a traditional media plan and established that brand awareness had not moved at all – it remained at zero. A subsequent three month campaign centred around contextually targeted mobile ads, however, saw brand awareness jump from 0% to 23%.

Amram went into more detail at a recent conference attended by Warc, where he outlined how mobile native advertising had been crucial to achieving this result.

"For me, 'native' means context and personalisation, specifically in the mobile space. So, it's the ability to bring the ads closer to the content and closer to the individual," he said.

"The more you're finding context is what drives effectiveness, that's where the ad dollars are going to go," he added. "Specifically in the mobile space, it's going to go more and more in that direction … If you're trying to focus on building brands and higher-end metrics, then that's where you're going to be."

Data sourced from Ad Exchanger; additional content by Warc staff