Heineken unveils ‘courageous’ plan to uncage Tiger beer’s ‘iconic’ global potential

Heineken is launching an unprecedented bid to transform Tiger beer into an “iconic” global Asian brand by introducing a “cool”, “trendy” positioning it hopes can woo young Asian professionals in Western markets.


The “Tiger Uncage” campaign is the first for the beer since being snapped up by Heineken in 2012 to secure a stronger foothold in Asia. It said at the time Tiger had potential to become a truly global brand and is now embarking on a “gradual process” to encourage drinkers to embrace an Asian beer in a market dominated by Western brewers.

Heineken’s plan revolves around targeting young Asian men, both domestically and internationally, to capture the region’s character in a way it says runs counter to the norms of how Asian beers have been globalised in the past. Traditional distribution tie-ups with restaurants and sponsorships are being eschewed in favour of deals with trendier bars and content marketing.

Droga5-created activity breaks in the UK and Ireland later this year to push the concept to young Asian professionals. Short films reveal the stories of young Asians following their dreams instead of taking the safe, well-trodden path via an online portal. It is a slightly different tact from the Asian-Pacific phase of the campaign, which encourages drinkers to break from the family and societal conformities.

Both aspects position the brand as symbol of courage and also let fans submit online videos, images and texts encapsulating how they broke from cultural and societal constraints to fulfill their own ambitions.

Cyril Charzat, senior regional marketing and sales director for Heineken’s Asia Pacific business, says the Asian-focused campaign will satisfy growing demand for Asian brands from western consumers. The area of Asian origin can be an “interesting proposition” for consumers in western markets that are increasingly open to trying new experiences, he adds.

The pan-European phase of the strategy will emphasise on-trade promotions in order to reach influencers and spark buzz by being present at trendy and cool events.

“It’s important that our marketing and events are relevant to Asian men before we can expect to attract other groups”, says Charzat.

Asian brewers such as Chang Beer and Cobra have struggled to replicate their domestic success on the world stage. A lack of marketing budgets to combat more mainstream beers and the fragmentation of the category have stalled efforts and left smaller World Beers relying on their ties to local restaurants to sustain sales.

Charzat adds: “The reason why we don’t have huge business ambitions for tomorrow with Tiger is because we want to make Tiger meaningful to the customer. It’s more important to us than having a broad distribution channels across Europe that could give us reach but wont give the brand a tone of voice or any real sustainable relevancy with drinkers.”

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