It all started with Jackie Stewart. Heineken’s now-iconic anti-drink driving ad restored a classic – artificially de-ageing the Formula One champion through the eras, as he habitually refuses a Heineken because he’s “still driving”. So we took a leaf from their book, updating a timeless hit, with a cover of Bowie’s “Heroes”. Its touch of vintage jazz seemed to do the trick, landing Heineken’s F1 sponsorship and broadcast alongside each race. All going to show how to make a classic even more classic. And that if you want to keep traditions alive, new partnerships and a little rearranging can’t hurt.
Later, the pandemic had us in a fix. It was so easy to miss the mark with the wrong tone, and Heineken’s recent campaign had to preserve a little humour and hope, without ignoring everyday realities. Against a backdrop of shuttered bars and clubs, their campaign dressed people up in all their finery – but only to walk dogs, buy toilet paper and take out the trash. So, like the bittersweet optimism of the film, “Nightlife Lives On”, our music choice nailed a careful blend of gallows humour and blitz spirit – literally. “We’ll Meet Again” got London through the bombs, and we supercharged its nostalgic hit of hope by fading into an acappella chorus: a world of voices ready to reunite.
For us it’s a reminder of what it takes to get it right. To amplify the tone, to help tell the story. We sort out the nuts and bolts – rights issues, budget concerns, yadda yadda. But ultimately it’s about reading the room. Asking ourselves, Do we need a hit? A hidden treasure? New talent? Covers? Bespoke composition?
If we weren’t finding the right answers to that question, we’d be out the door and picking up the tab.