Heineken Case study LONGER MERRY CHRISTMAS by J. Walter Thompson San Juan

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Industry Beers and Ciders
Media Case study
Market Puerto Rico
Agency J. Walter Thompson San Juan
Associate Creative Director Johanna Santiago
Copywriter Pablo Torres, Gabriela Bonilla Ocasio
Producer Santos Rivera, Noro Sebastian
Released May 2013


Cannes Lions 2013
Media Lions Best Integrated Campaign; Best Use of Integrated Media Silver
Media Lions Use of Media; Best Use of Audio Bronze

Credits & Description

Type of entry: Best Integrated Campaign
Category: Best Use of Integrated Media
Advertiser: HEINEKEN
Product/Service: HEINEKEN
Vice President Regional Creative Director: Jaime Rosado (JWT San Juan)
Associate Creative Director: Johanna Santiago (JWT San Juan)
Interactive Creative Director: Manuel Torres (JWT San Juan)
Copywriter: Gabriela Bonilla (JWT San Juan)
Copywriter: Pablo Torres (JWT San Juan)
Interactive Art Director: Daniel Vicente (JWT San Juan)
Interactive Art Director: Juan Carlos Montes (JWT San Juan)
Sound Engineer: Carlos Dávila (JWT San Juan)
Producer: Noro Sebastián (JWT San Juan)
Vice President Account Director: Juan Martínez-Paz (JWT San Juan)
Direct Marketing Director: Erika Van O'ordt (JWT San Juan)
Digital Account Director: Auribel Chaar (JWT San Juan)
Account Executive: Nicole Vidal (JWT San Juan)
Account Executive: Miguel Souss (JWT San Juan)
Digital Account Executive: Francisco Jiménez (JWT San Juan)
Social Media Manager: Edmaris Carazo (JWT San Juan)
Developer: Álvaro Susena (MDI Interactive)
Producer: Santos Rivera (Latitude 18)

Results and Effectiveness

So many verses were submitted that the 3-minute song ended up lasting 15 hours and 14 minutes.
During Christmas season, Heineken had the highest advertising campaign recall and achieved the highest top-of-mind awareness compared to its 2 closest competitors combined (whose media investment was 5 times higher).
The campaign not only increased Heineken’s Brand Likeability Index to a record high of 75%, it also became the brand most associated with Puerto Rican Christmas.
As the song became synonymous with the brand, each time it played during the 6 weeks of the campaign added up to over $230,000 in free publicity.

Creative Execution

The team contacted José Feliciano, the famous singer-songwriter of “Feliz Navidad” (Merry Christmas), to serve as a spokesperson throughout the entire campaign.
A TV spot featured the singer asking people to add a new verse to his song.
Through Facebook and an IVR phone service, people could write and record their own verses.
Each week, the best ones were made into radio spots to motivate people to keep adding verses. José Feliciano himself sang all of his favorite submitted verses on YouTube.
To hear how the extended song was coming along, people could play it online or visit Heineken’s Musical Christmas Tree at Plaza Las Américas, the biggest mall in the Caribbean.
At the end, José Feliciano rerecorded “Feliz Navidad” with the winning verses for Heineken. It was launched through national radio.

Insights, Strategy and the Idea

Christmas is Puerto Rico’s favorite season. Because of its many local traditions and celebrations, their Christmas is the longest in the world. (59 days)
Naturally, Christmas is a very competitive season for beer brands. Sales reach their highest peaks during November, December, and January.
Heineken had to find a way to create a campaign to stand out and truly connect with Puerto Ricans during Christmas. In Puerto Rico, Christmas is music. And its most famous Christmas song also happens to be the shortest Christmas song in the world: “Feliz Navidad”. It only has one verse. That’s it.
The campaign gave Puerto Ricans the chance to extend their classic, short song until it did justice to their particularly long Christmas.