Responsible drinking meets responsible driving as Heineken moves message to appropriate medium

Heineken’s global ‘Enjoy Heineken Responsibly’ campaign aims to “inform and educate consumers about the safe and responsible consumption of alcohol”—and, ideally, the safe and responsible consumption of Heineken. And now it’s ramping up its efforts to drill that message in at the business end of the RWC with the official launch of its ‘let a sober driver take you home’ taxi campaign in Auckland. 

Youtube VideoThe campaign, which sees a fleet of 50 Alert Taxis sporting the message—as well as the Heineken and RWC logos—across the rear half of the cars, was launched this morning at the Heineken World Bar. Stage one of the localised campaign kicked off last month with a television commercial airing across all channels, in stadia, Fanzones and at aligned bars (the commercial was originally used for a Christmas sober driving campaign in the US and was adapted for the local market by DB, which has brewed Heineken under license since 1994, and Saatchi & Saatchi. They even changed the ad to show the taxi driving on the left).

Close to 100,000 business cards featuring the same message and Alert Taxis’ phone number have been printed, and they have been distributed at Eden Park, aligned bars and the Heineken World Bar.

But when it comes to corporate social responsibility, booze companies are often damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Lobby group Alcohol Healthwatch has already criticised Heineken for putting its logo on the cars, with director Rebecca Williams saying she had a problem with the beer company promoting itself at the same time as promoting a sober driver message.

Given the amount of rugby-related revelry on offer at the moment, the public transport blowout at the start of the tournament and the fact that more than 300,000 people visited Queen’s Wharf during the first three weeks of the RWC, it’s not too surprising to find that taxi usage is up significantly. Alert Taxis’ company director, Robert Van Heiningen, says anecdotal evidence gained from the industry shows an increase of 30 percent in September across the Auckland region compared to the same period last year, so the message appears to be getting through. The Heineken campaign follows on from similar taxi campaigns that were run by Auckland Transport.

Tim Dove, the director of Taxi Impact, the media supplier of the branded taxis, is equally proud to have worked with Heineken, DB and Sparkphd to bring the campaign to life.

“With a large portion of taxi fares being before and after entertainment, using taxis is the perfect medium for this responsible message.”

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