Hey Pepsi, Here's How You Do a Political Ad and Nail It

We're raising a glass to Heineken's brilliant #OpenYourWorld political experiment

Heineken Worlds Apart: two bottles of heineken.

After Pepsi’s tone-deaf ad, followed swiftly by Nivea’s “white is purity” spot, who would have thought it would take a beer company to step up to the plate and prove brands can be politically engaged in an intelligent and thought-provoking way.

This week Heineken dropped its “Worlds Apart” experiment, part of its #OpenYourWorld campaign, and schooled everyone on the art of socially conscious (yet obviously ad-driven) conversations. A bold move, considering that Pepsi and Nivea both issued public apologies for their embarrassingly off-the-mark ads earlier this month.

Rather than having some corporation present us with a quick solution to intricate and deep-seated political issues, Heineken brought real-life strangers together on camera to talk about their differences over a beer. A truly novel concept considering most heated back-and-forth dialogue takes place in our @ mentions. In the video, two people with polar opposite views on feminism, climate change and transgender rights are unknowingly matched up. Oh, and they’re tasked with assembling some furniture together. Nbd.

“Feminism today is man-hating,” says one man to the camera.

“I would describe myself as a feminist, 100 percent,” says the woman he’s paired off with.

While building what turns out to be chairs and a bar—very on brand here!—the participants learn about each other’s past and what ultimately shaped their political stances and world views. Each person is then asked to watch a film, presumably shot earlier, in which they see the partner they’ve been building furniture alongside wax on about their long-held opinions. It’s both cringeworthy and deeply humanizing to watch each person’s facial expressions morph as they realize they are standing next to the very person who ultimately represents everything they seem to despise—and yet they somehow… get along?

After their political truths are revealed, participants are then given a choice: they can leave, or sit down together and openly discuss their views, perhaps learning something about one another in the process. It’s a brilliant approach because the ad doesn’t aim to preach one view over another, but rather the importance of just listening to another person’s story and maybe finding a common ground. Over a beer. And we’ll take that over Pepsi any day.

Cheers, Heineken.

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