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Heineken pinpoints soccer-viewing venues via Google Maps-powered bar finder

Heineken is uncapping a new mobile platform, built on the Google Maps API, that enables New York residents to locate nearby bars and venues where Heineken beer is served and soccer games are broadcast, showcasing how alcohol marketers can leverage location technology.

The brand?s Soccer is Here mobile Web site was designed to make it simpler for soccer fans to find bars and stores at which to view games and drink Heineken as well as discover where to buy sports gear. Heineken is leveraging the Google Maps API and Google Local Guides, Places and Search to power the site, enabling soccer enthusiasts to stumble upon ideal places to congregate with like-minded individuals and enjoy a game alongside a Heineken beer.

?Mobile, social and fan engagement are at the heart of every program Heineken executes, and helping fans via this seamless tool, is our way to give back,? said Rob Ryder, Heineken brand manager at Heineken USA.

Mobile-enabled bar hopping
Heineken developed the new platform in an effort to help connect soccer fans aged 21 and over with local restaurants and bars serving its beer. Since many U.S. soccer enthusiasts have endured time zone differences for games and bar mix-ups with friends, the brand wanted to introduce a venue finder that would rectify these issues.

New York residents can take advantage of the mobile bar and venue finder by visiting SoccerIsHere.com and inputting their date of birth. The platform?s homepage asks visitors to swipe right to begin searching for a nearby venue.

Completing that action will prompt the Google Maps API to use a smartphone?s GPS to determine the user?s exact location and display an interactive map.

Individuals will see a list of bars and stores at the bottom of the map. Soccer Is Here shows bars and eateries at which games can be watched, as well as sporting goods stores where fans can purchase soccer gear.

Users may swipe right to view all of the venues in their New York neighborhood and the number of minutes it will take to get to them. If consumers are searching for a bar, Heineken?s platform will indicate whether any upcoming matches are scheduled to be broadcast.

If fans would like to visit one of the bars or stores, they can tap to receive directions via Google Maps.

Site visitors can also interact with a countdown to their favorite league?s next match, receive more information about Heineken?s beers and see a list of music festivals at which the brand will set up a Heineken House location.

Heineken has previously rolled out mobile activations in partnership with Major League Soccer.

This past spring, Heineken and Major League Soccer brewed up awareness for their annual Rivalry Week festivities by rolling out a custom emoji that appeared in any Tweet containing the #RivalryWeek hashtag (see story).

?This platform is part of the greater ?Soccer is Here? campaign that launched in March 2016, where Heineken is firmly planting its stake into the ground with a U.S. led campaign featuring legends like Landon Donovan, David Villa and Carli Lloyd ? the first female athlete to serve as a spokesman for a beer company,? Mr. Ryder said.

?This comes after our multi-year sponsorship with Major League Soccer last year, adding to a soccer portfolio that already included a Champions League sponsorship.?

Hopping on the hyperlocal bandwagon
The Soccer Is Here platform, which leverages Google Local Guides, Places and Search, was built on the Google Maps API, allowing users to receive hyperlocal and specific details about nearby venues.

As consumers become more accustomed to relinquishing their personal smartphone data to brands in exchange for relevant content, more marketers are implementing location-based technology into their mobile marketing initiatives.

For example, Thrillist?s new Eat Seeker digital hub is taking on Foursquare and other location-based platforms by enabling mobile and Web users to interact with an immersive map, find insider information on local restaurants and save potential venues to visit later (see story).

Heineken has also experimented with location-based rewards activations.

Several weeks ago, it added fizz to mobile loyalty with the Heineken Live app, which offered users a chance to receive different rewards experiences, such as VIP event tickets, each time they visited one of the brand?s beacon-equipped venues (see story).

However, Soccer Is Here will likely help Heineken foster even more relationships with a very specific ? and passionate ? subset of its target customers.

?Heineken, soccer fans? most preferred beer, is always looking for another way to give fans a tool or opportunity to further enjoy the beautiful game,? Mr. Ryder said. ?The brand will also engage soccer fans to further heighten brand awareness and increase the consumer?s decision to purchase Heineken during the match.?