The brand claims the internally developed “Sol Search” platform is a big bet in its efforts to target the time-conscious “30-year-old guy” who can’t be reached through TV advertising and traditional marketing methods.
The business admits that many places listed by the search engine won’t be selling the Sol beer, but the brand plans to use the tool to identify the types of places they should be housed in.
The Sol Search tool began with 20 ideal café, bar and restaurant locations selected with the help of content partner Monocle. It then used these results to generate similar listings, pulling reviews from FourSquare and photos from Instagram to make the tool more credible.
The search portal has launched in London, with plans to extend to São Paolo next week and in 10 more cities throughout Europe, Asia and South America next year.
Dave Shoemack, global brand manager of Sol told Marketing Week, “It’s about finding places in your own city that you wouldn’t find on Google.”
The strategy reflects Heineken’s need to push Sol at a time when consumers are being encouraged by rival premium brands to view beer in a different light – earlier this year, AB InBev kicked off a YouTube campaign that promoted its Leffe Blonde beer’s ties to food.
Heineken says the tool won’t drive short-term sales, adding that the goal is for consumers to get value out of the tool and associate it with the brand.
The campaign is part of a wider change in direction for Heineken’s digital marketing, which is now structured around providing services instead of traditional brand campaigns.
In July, the company launched a Heineken-branded service that let Twitter users plan their nights out using real-time location-based social activity to recommend where they should go next.
The search engine is backed by a digital-focused campaign including banner ads which feature photos from the search tool and a test-search capability.