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26/11/2008 by

Heineken Launches Social Responsibility Campaign

On 14 November 2008, brewer Heineken officially launched its first global internet-based responsible drinking campaign entitled Know The Signs, to create greater self-awareness amongst Heineken drinkers.

The Crier & The Groper

Through global research Heineken has learnt that people tend to transform into one of 5 embarrassing characters or alter-egos on a night out, and that although they might reluctantly admit it for themselves, they definitely see the transformation in their friends. These characters have been identified as: The Crier, The Fighter, The Sleeper, The Exhibitionist or The Groper.

The campaign extends the well-established “Enjoy Heineken Responsibly” programme and aims to encourage more informed choices and better drinking habits amongst those who display irresponsible behaviour and consumption patterns.
To create intrigue around the launch of the campaign, Heineken created an entertaining ‘Hollywood-style’ trailer to introduce the campaign concept and a few of its characters. The trailer is available in different versions, in English, Spanish, Hungarian, Dutch, and is seeded by SocialMedia8 using a buzz toolkit and tracked by ViralTracker.

Discover what character you are, when you have had one too many to drink

The website on, developed by the UK based The Red Brick Road / Ruby Agency and Unit9, is the focus of the campaign. The site asks visitors to watch CCTV surveillance footage and use a virtual remote to pan and click on specific areas of the bar to spot the embarrassing characters that emerge when one has had that one drink too many.

Spot the early indications of a an emerging Sleeper in the bar

The ‘Know The Signs’ campaign is also supported by a widget, an Oddcast application, a mobile site, online advertising and In-bar promotion.

‘Know The Signs’ Widget
With the Know The Signs widget, created by LaComunidad, you can match each of your friends with one of these embarrassing characters on several popular social networks, such as Facebook, MySpace, Netlog and Dutch social network Hyves.

Oddcast Application
Once a sign is discovered on, visitors can turn their friends into one of the Know The Signs characters with the Embarrassment tool, a unique 3D engine, by uploading their photo and sending them a personalized message.

Embarrassment tool: Turn your friend into one of the characters
On, created by ICE Mobile, people from all over the world can share a Know The Signs video directly from their mobile phone and warn a friend that he or she should not have one too many to drink.

MSN Takeover
Online advertising consists of a highly visible one-day page takeover of the MSN homepage, which will introduce ‘The Groper’ character, supported by two engaging MPU formats, featuring ‘The Crier’ and ‘The Fighter’, which will be used by local markets to introduce the concept of ‘Know The Signs’ and to drive traffic to the website.

In-bar promotional material is produced by local markets to encourage bar visitors to enjoy Heineken responsibly, and to Know The Signs right there and then on a night out.

Worldwide Buzz
The ‘Know The Signs’ trailer, viewed over 200,000 times, got featured on eBaum’s World, the biggest humor and comedy site on the Internet, and is picked up by several popular and influential blogs worldwide like Neatorama,, Flabber and Spotanatomy.

Heineken’s ‘Know The Signs’ campaign is described by blogs and the audience as hilarious, original, clever, brave, well thought and beautifully made. Below an overview of keywords used for on social bookmarksite delicious.

What did Heineken learn during their research?

  • 69% of Italians see their friends becoming The Exhibitionist on a night out…
  • 49% of Hungarians identify themselves as The Sleeper, the next highest was Argentina on just 24%.
  • Only 1% of Romanians admit to being The Groper – in contrast with 19% of their Russian near-neighbours.
  • Most consumers are unwilling to admit to being The Fighter – most are under 5%, with only Hungary (23%) and USA (6%) higher.
  • The North Americans tend to get more emotional when having one too many to drink than consumers in other countries – with 10% of Canadians and 11% of Americans admitting to being The Crier. This is still dwarfed by Hungary! (27%).
  • Over 25% of people in every country surveyed see The Exhibitionist on a night out.
  • 58% of Argentines see The Groper in their friends – but only 9% are willing to admit to becoming The Groper themselves – in denial?
  • 83% of Chileans see The Sleeper in their friends – a huge number.
  • Although only 5% of Russians admit to being The Crier, 46% see it in their friends.

What About You?

Let us know how you rate this campaign? Share your ideas in the comments below.


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