Heineken goes broad with digital to boost brand awareness
- Heineken is moving advertising dollars from TV to digital platforms like Google and Facebook for broad messaging and brand awareness campaigns, according to a report in Digiday. The news echoes an announcement made by P&G last year, where the brand said it was cutting back on targeted Facebook advertising after admitting it had gone "too narrow" and ultimately missed the mark.
- While digital channels are valued for their ability to highly target audiences and personalize messages, Heineken is instead viewing them as a mass medium it can leverage to reach large numbers of people across broad demographics in a manner similar to how brands have traditionally used linear TV advertising.
- Moving from TV to focus more on digital platforms like Google and Facebook while still applying a TV-like brand awareness strategy stems from Heineken's understanding that digital is where people are spending most of their time, Nourdin Rejeb, the brewer's global manager for digital, told Digiday.
Digital as a marketing channel is reaching parity with TV in terms of media spend, but the way marketers actually plan and execute their strategies remains in flux. P&G, after moving away from hyper-targeting on Facebook last year, is slashing a significant piece of its digital budget overall as issues like non-transparency continue to frustrate. The CPG giant has recommitted to TV ads in the meantime, a move that stands in contrast to Heineken's play, where a broad TV strategy is applied to digital.
These developments all reinforce that marketers are still not entirely sure how best to handle digital, or where it delivers the most value. While TV may be a more assured bet for broad audience targeting, ratings are down overall amid a trend toward cord cutting, while ad rates are still pricey. Given that friction, brands like Heineken might value digital channels as a replacement for TV when it comes to brand awareness and large-scale messaging campaigns.
That's not to say Heineken is eschewing TV entirely. The brewer has, in fact, eyed a good deal of innovation on the channel, such as through a "Cities" campaign launched in April that included TV spots customized and localized for the 16 global markets where they aired.
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