Agency: Publicis Italy
Heineken communicates its sponsorship of the UEFA Champions League, which began in 2005, in 81 markets worldwide. By 2015, it enjoyed the highest sponsorship awareness and brand fit of any sponsor. Despite this, yearly volume sales growth in UCL markets had shrunk to 0.69% and penetration had stalled. To fans, Heineken felt like a premium beer to be enjoyed socially – when they watched at home alone, even non-premium local beers sufficed.
Heineken's strategy was to champion UCL matches as social occasions. The brand recruited José Mourinho to motivate fans to watch with friends and Heineken, using a communications approach that blended scale with personal relevance. As a result of the campaign, volume sales growth reached historic double-digit figures, penetration increased and the number of people watching alone decreased. Conservative estimates of the financial effects of the campaign point to substantially increased revenue.