Measuring the Cultural Fluency of Heineken

In this CultureRate:Ad study we had the opportunity to test a recent ad by Heineken, “Connections”. The ad reflects how people can stay connected to one another while quarantined during the COVID-19 pandemic. And it touches on the ups and downs of physically-distanced socializing. The ad was a hit! It resonated across all multicultural consumer segments — Hispanic, Black, and Asian — with an A-CFQ score of 75 or higher for each group.

Screen capture of man speaking in Heineken ad

One interesting insight about this advertisement is that all of the ad elements (music, characters, story, and visuals) struck a chord with viewers. 

It’s not often that we see this kind of  balance among ad features. So this indicates there’s harmony going on in the ad where all the elements play into each other nicely. Achieving harmony among ad elements is an important step in guarding against viewer confusion, an emotional response that can harm an ad’s performance.

Another point worth noting is that this ad was seen as highly relatable.  Remember, it’s about both the ups and downs of socializing while physically distanced. It features themes such as connecting remotely with loved ones and the inevitable tech troubles that I’m sure we’ve all experienced by now. It functions as a reassuring reminder that we’re all in this together — nobody’s wifi or at-home setup is perfect, things kinda suck at times, but we can still kick back with a beer and connect with friends.

Graph showing that Heineken's advertisement elements are well-balanced and relatable
Chart showing high word-of-mouth metrics among viewiers

Our CultureRate:Ad metrics indicate that Heineken’s ad was seen as both relatable and enjoyable. 68% of viewers felt like this ad was for them. This was above the ad set norm of 60%, making Heineken’s ad the number one relatable ad we tested. 75% of viewers enjoyed the ad. The norm was pretty high for this set at 71%. Even so, this ad raises the bar coming in at number three. And then for both of our metrics that point to an ad’s ability to drive word of mouth influence – talking about the ad with others and reacting to the ad on social media – Heineken’s ad captures over half of viewers. Again, over-indexing compared to the ad set norm, making it the number two most share-worthy ad of the set.

Finally, Heineken’s ad did an excellent job of eliciting positive emotions, likely an effect of it being a highly relatable and clear feel-good ad in the middle of tough times. The ad outperformed most alcoholic beverage ads in evoking happiness – at 49%, it’s far above the norm! And Asian and White viewers over-index, feeling especially happy watching this ad.

Graph showing happy, excited, and proud as highest reported reactions to the ad

We’re constantly conducting CultureRate:Ad and CultureRate:Brand studies for our members that subscribe to the multicultural research and generational research platforms . If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of being a member, please fill out the contact form below.

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