A departure from traditional advertising

– By Jess Graham

In an age where consumers are acutely aware of advertising and often try to actively avoid it (think recorded TV shows, blocking Facebook ads and even the humble ‘No Junk Mail’ sticker), it comes as no surprise that brands are being forced to think outside the traditional channels of advertising to develop new and creative ways to connect with consumers.

Heineken has long been known for producing experiential and content pieces that are entertaining to watch and actively sought out by consumers.

Their latest piece, entitled ‘Departure Roulette’ plays on the adventurous and ‘open-to-the-unknown’ personality of the brand and its target market. In this piece Heineken set up a ‘spin-the-wheel’ style departure board and challenged travellers at JFK Airport to drop everything and take a chance on a new destination:


Like most good branded entertainment, there is no hard sell of the actual product. In fact, there isn’t even a hint at heading off to one of the foreign destinations to party and savour some beers (and no, Amsterdam isn’t one of the destinations). It is purely a brand piece that works to put Heineken at top-of-mind and reinforce their ‘Open Your World’ tagline that was introduced in 2010.

Most interestingly however, is the way that Heineken has taken this campaign one step further. Whilst these content style pieces generally generate much conversation around social media, it is rare to see a brand actively engage in this conversation. Heineken’s follow up piece, ‘Departure Roulette – En Route’, surprises a few lucky real life commenters who tweeted about the original Departure Roulette piece, giving them the chance to play the game for themselves:


Whilst the concept of being tracked down on Twitter may seem a little creepy to some, it has certainly proved to be popular and entertaining, with the original video attracting over 2.7 million views on YouTube and the follow up reaching an even more impressive 5.7 million.