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Heineken pushes pale ale via SMS campaign

Beer titan Heineken promoted its brand with a text-to-win mobile campaign at the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago last weekend.

Festival attendees could text the keyword GREENRM to the short code 46786 for the chance to meet musical artists at the event. The campaign targeted young, hip music fans of legal drinking age at the festival.

?Heineken is all about music and Pitchfork stands out because, unlike some larger music festivals, Pitchfork gives the consumer a unique music experience,? said Tara Carraro, senior director of corporate communications at Heineken, White Plains, NY. ?Heineken continues to look for ways to bring adult consumers closer to the music they love, and the SMS-Green Room promotion allowed them to get up close and personal with the artists. 

?We use mobile technology for consumer promotions because it's the fastest and simplest way for consumers to opt-in and participate,? she said. ?It's very non-intrusive.?

The music festival is hosted annually by online music publication Pitchfork, which attracts 1.9 million unique visitors each month.

The site says that three-quarters of its readers are ages 21-34, 64 percent are male and 87 percent have at least a college education.

The Pitchfork campaign
Heineken used the campaign as a chance to connect its brand of pale ale with young consumers in an exciting festival environment.

The SMS contest offered Pitchfork attendees the chance to win entrance into the ?Green Room,? an air-conditioned festival venue that the brewing company co-sponsored with Time Out Chicago.

Contest winners had the opportunity to meet and take pictures with festival performers who congregated in the room for interviews.

Calls to action were placed on video screens flanking the festival?s stages and on age-verification wristbands worn by festival-goers of legal drinking age.

Here is an image of Heineken?s age-verification wristbands:

Calls to action also appeared on Pitchfork and Time Out Chicago?s Web sites.

SMS is music to brands? ears
Beer brands have been no strangers to SMS campaigns in recent years.

Anheuser-Busch recently promoted its Bud Light brand used multiple mobile tactics, including a text-to-win sweepstakes (see story).

And, Heineken has been an active player in the mobile space for some time.

The brewing company activated a multichannel promotional campaign that included a mobile sweepstakes earlier this summer (see story).

Heineken has given significant attention to crafting effective SMS campaigns.

?The idea of a SMS text campaigns is only as good as the experience you deliver to the winning consumers,? Ms. Carraro said. ?Heineken puts extensive efforts into assuring that consumers who win experience something they may have never experienced on their own.

?Creating memories for consumers is key,? she said.

In addition to SMS campaigns? worth as promotional tactics, text-to-win initiatives have the added benefit of producing mobile numbers that brands can place in databases and use for customer relationship marketing.

However, Heineken did not indicate whether it indexed participants? numbers for use in future mobile initiatives.

The beer company has not revealed its next steps in mobile, but indicated that it will continue to target music fans in the future.

?We promise to deliver more mobile technology and applications to assure we connect consumers to music,? Ms. Carraro said.

Final Take
Peter Finocchiaro, editorial assistant at Mobile Marketer, New York