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When all else fails. A Heineken success story.

You watch a great ad on TV, have a good laugh (If it’s a funny one) and talk to your mates about it. Fast forward one week and without any good explanation, you find the product from the ad in your grocery bag.

Bam! That’s how good ads are supposed to work.

But with fewer people watching TV these days, your great ad isn’t going to be of much use.

That was Heineken’s dilemma in the UK.

The story of their inspired solution, published in The Drum is one for the books. Here are the highlights.

Instead of delivering more advertising, Heineken doubled down on using real-time retail data with targeted advertising to understand the drivers of footfall and sales.

The Drum wrote “Heineken worked with Brulines to get pump access in pubs across the country, installing smart devices to monitor how many pints were being pulled. For the first time, Heineken had visibility of its real time performance, enabling them to take the principles of ecommerce and apply it to selling beer in bricks and mortar pubs.”

And the results?

“Over the course of the first 6-week test period, sales of Heineken brands in featured outlets increased by 3.6%, using a £225k investment to deliver £670k of additional value.”

Heineken’s approach put the consumer at the centre of brand communication. It’s really the opposite of how TV ads normally work. 

You may not be in the business of selling pints but as brick-and-mortar stores open, cases studies like this one are a great example of how retailers need to embrace data and real-time marketing.

Did you hear how HBO Max hacked their way into reinventing their brand?

Let’s rewind a bit…

  • May 27th: WarnerMedia launched HBO Max to rival Netflix. (They already have HBO GO and HBO NOW which give you HBO content but in different ways.)
  • HBO Max is a standalone streaming service that includes all of HBO’s content in addition to movies, series, cartoons, and more from WarnerMedia Entertainment. (New series and other content will also premiere on HBO Max under the title Max Originals.)
  • Leading up to the launch, WarnerMedia was busy securing rights to shows like The Big Bang Theory, South Park and the Holy Grail of streaming: the F.R.I.E.N.D.S. reunion.

Why not just stick to HBO? 

HBO Max is here to keep things light and breezy compared to the hard-hitting, boundary-pushing and genre-defining productions that have to live up to what people expect from HBO.

In this interview, HBO’s Content Chief described their focus to be much broader. Calling Max an “HBO alternative”, he explained that their content selection is designed to bring something for everyone, starting with programs like Sesame Street and making its way up to young adults.

It doesn’t sound all that different than HBO –and even the marketing team at HBO Max seems to agree

That’s why they’re playing by different rules.

Instead of going through traditional branding channels, their Senior VP of Growth Marketing is employing guerilla tactics to find new ways to start and hijack online conversations around their brand.

They’re tapping into the pop culture built around TV and movie titles that WarnerMedia already own.

They’re building a brand through growth marketing

Growth marketing is all about zeroing in on the user. Instead of waiting for people to discover HBO Max, they got their (digital) boots on the ground and took their brand to their audience.

They’ve been tapping into existing conversations around their content as well as starting new ones through Twitter polls, influencers and by getting into trending memes.

Copyright: HBO Max

Are they getting any results?

To be honest, the whole things is still a bit of a mess.

For the new subscribers, the biggest attraction in HBO Max is still HBO’s original series.

However, as far as managing the HBO brand goes, AT&T might just succeed at delivering a Netflix-like experience through Max without diluting the grown-up and sophisticated vibe that HBO has been building for so long.