As more and more corporate brands begin to sponsor EDM culture and festivals – most notably AnheuserBusch InBev and Motorola, each of whom have inked global multimillion dollar sponsorships for 2014 in the last month alone – a dual focus on responsible marketing is in order. Heineken, a pioneering sponsor of EDM events like Ultra and music festivals like Coachella, took this to heart.
On Monday (January 6), Heineken debuted “Dance More, Drink Slow” a global campaign designed to promote moderation over excess – and abstinence, for that matter – featuring EDM superstar Armin van Buuren as its face and spokesperson.
Anuraag Trikha, global marketing communications manager for Heineken International, says the initiative will encompass 10% of Heineken’s global ad spend – valued as high as $30 to $40 million, according to Billboard estimates of the beer brand’s budgets in previous years.
“The whole topic of moderation and responsible consumption has historically been full of ‘don’ts’,” Trikha tells Billboard. “We’ve had conversations with consumers, and our belief is that Heineken as a brand can help change behaviors in the world. We want to make moderation something at our core that we can profoundly speak about and believe in. It’s not a campaign, it’s a commitment.”
Heineken has been testing out different initiatives since 2004, when it debuted umbrella organization “Enjoy Heineken Responsibly.” Over the years that has included campaigns like “Sunrise” (above), custom marketing to support the brand’s sport and music sponsorships and messaging on over 8 million Heineken bottles and products. The latest iteration finds Heineken and van Buuren seeking to align the necessary action for the beer and spirit industry with that of EDM, which has caught fire in recent months over safety concerns following two drug-related deaths at Electric Zoo in New York last Labor Day weekend.
As part of the partnership with Heineken, Van Buuren has debuted an original song, “Save My Night" inspired by “Dance More, Drink Slow" in the brand's "Experiment" video campaign (below). The premise behind the video is that the better the DJ the more people dance and the less they drink, which the "Experiment" documents. Heineken is working with global ad agency Publiis out of Milan on the initiative, as well as media buying agency Starcom and PR firm Edelman, in addition to van Buuren’s own Armada Music. “It goes beyond EDM, but we are using the culture and Armin as a way to promote the concept of moderation,” Trikha says. “We see Armin as our first ambassador, but I see much more partnerships and are very open to others in the future.”
Measuring the success of a concept like responsible consumption can be unwieldy, but Heineken will follow a dedicated hashtag, #DMDS, and buzz across platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to track its progress in five countries. “At the end of the day we want to make moderation cool, not just to view something but to feel something,” he says.