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HEINEKEN Ireland Launches Largest Ever Responsible Drinking Campaign

Date:15th January 2024

Campaign urges consumers to never drink when driving and promotesHeineken® 0.0% as a responsible choice   

HEINEKEN Ireland is launching a major new advertising campaign, as it continues to promote responsible consumption and lead the non-alcoholic category. 

The new campaign, which features three-time World F1 Champion Max Verstappen, has a core message that consumers should never drive if they have been drinking alcohol. The campaign promotes Heineken® 0.0%, the leading alcohol-free beer brand in the Irish market, as a responsible choice if you are driving.

“This new campaign will be HEINEKEN Ireland’s largest ever Heineken 0.0% campaign” according to HEINEKEN Ireland Marketing Director, Fiona Curtin “Heineken® 0.0% is Ireland’s most popular alcohol-free beer, offering consumers more choice for occasions where they choose not to consume alcohol” she added.

The “Best Driver” campaign features Dutch F1 star Verstappen, who is seen out with a group of friends in a bar. The group are trying to decide who should drive home, with one asking, 'Who's the best driver?' before Verstappen picks up a set of car keys. As he is not drinking, Verstappen becomes the designated driver and is seen driving his friend’s home safely on two separate occasions.  

On the third evening, Verstappen is seen holding a beer bottle, and therefore one of his friends picks up the car keys instead. However, as his friend drives away, Verstappen shows the label of his beer bottle through the bar window to reveal that he is drinking Heineken® 0.0%. The F1 ace is then seen driving at the end of the evening.

“The best driver is the one who is not drinking … unless it’s Heineken® 0.0%,” the advertisement notes. The 30-second advertisement will be shown on television, with the campaign live across social and digital media channels throughout 2024.

The non-alcoholic category in Ireland continued to enjoy growth in 2023. Figures compiled by Drinks Ireland show that non-alcoholic beer sales in Ireland more than tripled between 2017 and 2021, from 1.79 million to 5.55 million litres. The market share for non-alcoholic beer soared by 275% during this time, from 0.4% to 1.5%.*  The category’s growth is expected to continue in 2024. Since its launch in 2018, Heineken® 0.0 has taken a leading role in evolving and growing the category and today enjoys the highest share of the total market. As the non-alcoholic category is set to continue to realise growth year-on-year, HEINEKEN will continue to invest in the category, having invested more than €30 million in the 0.0% brand to date.

“We know that consumers are seeking more balance, particularly Gen Z and Y and so it’s important that we continue to lead this category. This campaign has a strong message and one of the options that consumers have is to choose an alcohol-free product such as Heineken® 0.0%,” Curtin said. 

The alcohol-free lager is now available on draught in 2,200 outlets, with significant expansion plans for 2024. It is also available in all major retailers and in off licences.

Complementing the investment behind Heineken® 0.0%, HEINEKEN Ireland spends at least 10% of its total advertising and marketing budget on promoting responsible drinking with a particular focus on its “When You Drive, Never Drink” campaign. Promoting moderation and responsible consumption are key elements of HEINEKEN ’s Brew a Better World sustainability strategy, which was launched in April 2021.

This is the latest moderation campaign from Heineken® to feature a Formula 1 star. Previously, F1 stars Nico Rosberg and Jackie Stewart featured in Heineken’s “When You Drive, Never Drink” campaigns.

The “Best Driver” advertisement was devised by creative agency Le Pub, which is part of Publicis, and was informed by market research that showed that the reasons for selecting a designated driver included driving experience, enjoyment, or simply the person who volunteered. The media buying for the campaign will be managed by Dentsu.



*Drinks Ireland