Whitbread pins hopes on Heineken Export

Whitbread is repositioning premium lager brand Heineken Export in a major advertising campaign that breaks this Friday.

The new television and cinema campaign is the first since it dropped Stephen Fry’s “smooth talking bar steward” ads for Heineken Export (MW March 10).

It is part of a 10m push to make Heineken Export into an upmarket international brand. Standard Heineken beer is unlikely to be promoted this year, as Whitbread intends to support only the premium market.

The Export ads, through Lowe Howard-Spink, use the catchline “Heineken Export. The world’s favourite import.” They feature four executions. The first two will be screened on Friday.

The first ad is set in Thirties Italy and features a champion boxer returning to a hilltop village after a successful fight. Villagers gather around the train at the station, but they ignore the boxer and mob another passenger, a local bar owner. The ad is intended as a homage to the film Raging Bull.

The second ad is set in Moscow in 1980 at the ballet where customers queue, not to get into the theatre, but for the bar, where they can buy Heineken Export.

Whitbread marketing manager Richard Evans says: “Although the new commercials feature Export, it is the Heineken brand that is being promoted and we expect the commercials to have a positive impact on sales in both premium and standard markets.”

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