Video courtesy of Heineken International Brewing Co.
The first thought that came to my mind after watching Heineken’s new campaign ad, #OpenYourWorld, was how clever it was. I was in awe that such a deep and meaningful message had somehow been presented via a simple beer commercial, who often target their market towards the insensitivity of their male audience rather than global society at large. While engaging with the four minute video, I couldn’t stop wondering how the beer was going to tie in. Once the Heineken beer was so sprucely incorporated into the ending, though, I couldn’t help but laugh–it was just so dang clever.
The message of the ad relayed the sentiment that, “we let more things split us apart than bring us together.” There were two smaller, more subliminal messages for the viewers to take away (or at least that’s what I saw). The first message I received was that we can’t change other people’s perspectives, therefore our different opinions shouldn’t define us or alter our view on someone. It’s a difficult concept to accept, because it’s human nature to always want to be right, especially when it comes to things we feel very strongly about. Nonetheless, we have to accept that we were all brought up in different ways and we all have gone through different life experiences to shape our beliefs, so to get angry at someone for stating their opinion isn’t fair. Wit that being said, the second lesson learned from this was the following: even though we are entitled to our own beliefs, you need to think about how what you are putting out there might affect someone’s life. The fact that we have the freedom to believe in what we want is a beautiful thing, but it’s also an easy power to abuse. You are entitled to think what you wish, but is it really worth making someone insecure about their lifestyle because of it? You may not believe in something that someone else believes in– and that’s completely okay–but there is no need to shout it from the rooftops or be obnoxious about it. I can also assure you that unless you plan on running for president, no one really cares what your political beliefs are.
I really appreciate how nothing is sugar-coated in the video; it’s real people stating their real perspectives on things. I get it: some of the people that were used in the experiment had some very blunt perspectives that were readily put on display to clash with the other perspective presented. Still, can we take a second to reflect on how realistic this all is? Our generation is very sensitive. I’m not saying it’s a negative thing, but we tend to take things that aren’t meant to offend us in an offensive way, resulting in us consuming our time with problems that we have manufactured ourselves. In fact, some people get so caught up in what they think is right that they put their opinion on display in a way that can be hurtful to others. There is still–even with social media a unavoidable facet of our society–a clear difference from someone just stating their opinion, and doing it in a way that is harmful to others; that is where our culture’s sensitivity plays in. At the end of the day, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and you nor anyone else can change that, so why should we let that affect us? There are people that feel very passionately about their beliefs, and there always will be those people. If someone is ignorant enough togo on hating on someone else’s lifestyle without even knowing them, that is their own issue. I am by no means saying I agree with anything that was said in this advertisement, or that hating someone’s way of life is okay, I am just pointing out the fact that it is all very realistic, and in no means was anything said purposely meant to offend anyone. This advertisement was trying to bring us together, and if you don’t see that, then I’m sorry, but you are missing the point entirely.
We live in a society in which we are quick to judge someone before knowing them. Throughout history there has been problems with certain people accepting the differences of another, from women’s rights to civil rights to gay/lesbian/transgender rights. Yes, it is human nature and the problem will never completely go away. But would it really be that hard to put out a little more love and less hate out there? In an ideal world, there would be no judgement and we would be able to see past someone else’s beliefs. But being human comes with emotions, the ones we all naturally feel for whatever reason at hand, and sadly, we can’t magically make that all go away.
Despite all of the controversy, I personally loved the advertisement. I may just be a sucker for sentimentality, but unlike a lot of ads we see every day, I actually had respect for this one. It’s a nice break from the typical meaningless advertisement that companies produce of an attractive celebrity using their product. I’m not sure the campaign founders would love to hear this, but the campaign got me thinking a lot more about how our beliefs divide us, rather than the beer that the ad presented. It was well thought out, and unlike a lot of ads that try to convey deep messages, it was sincere and authentic. There wasn’t a celebrity strutting around holding a Pepsi in a Black Lives Matter protest (sorry, Pepsi, but that was just too generic), it was real. It was the raw, unscripted interaction of two people who probably would’ve never crossed paths if it hadn’t been for this social experiment. I personally don’t know how you could watch this ad and not take a step back to reflect on how your beliefs shape you and may affect the others around you.
Ultimately, what you get out of not only this advertisement, but messages like this that are presented to you throughout life, is up to you. You can choose to watch this commercial and pick out all of the things that you don’t like about it, completely ignoring the point. Or, you can figure out how the message may relate to your life, and how you can use it to better yourself. Our society needs to learn how to accept other people’s opinions, even if we don’t agree with them. Either way it’s up to you, but, as silly as this sounds, I think this Heineken beer commercial offers our society a perspective that we could all learn and take something away from.
For those of you who haven’t watched this commercial yet I’ll give you a quick recap. Heineken launched a new campaign that revolves around a moving social experiment, and the idea that we, as a society, “have more things that divide us than bring us together.” Six strangers were put in three pairs of two, each duo having beliefs on opposite sides of the spectrum. A black feminist paired with a white conservative man who believes feminism is “man hating.” An environmental activist and a climate change skeptic are matched together. Lastly, a transgender woman and a man who believes that “transgenderism is not right,” are put together. Through icebreakers, and a challenge to build a bar, each duo is forced to get to know each other. Rather than this being an awkward and forced experience, all pairs seemed to connect with each other very well. Then, the game changer of the commercial comes into play: a video is played of each person revealing their extremely different beliefs.
Shock, embarrassment, and discomfort fills the room, which is where the beer comes in. The dilemma is proposed that the two could either leave, or talk out their differences over a Heineken beer. Clever, right? The commercial ends with the frazzled and ashamed group members apologizing for their ignorance over a deep conversation and exchanging phone numbers. Kind of sentimental, right?