The timing on Heineken’s latest ad is working out really well for the beer company: “World’s Apart,” as it’s called, is billed as an “ad experiment” that dives Pepsi-style into today’s divisive sociopolitical climate, but offers a message more advanced than “sugary beverages are the solution.” Heineken’s ad shows three pairs of strangers who have polar-opposite viewpoints on feminism, climate change, and transgender rights (“I would describe myself as a feminist 100 percent” versus “Feminism today is man-hating,” and so on). But they don’t know this, and enter a room where they conduct various team-building exercises to break the ice. Then Heineken lets the cat out of bag — you watch the mood sour as prerecorded video reveals each pair’s ideological differences. They’re given a choice: Leave, or talk it out over a beer. Everybody chooses beer, even though it’s a Heineken — which is a huge testament to the rapport these pairs have built by now.
The video on YouTube already has over 3.5 million views as of Friday, and a rating that’s about 98 percent positive. Something this involved was probably in the works well before Pepsi dropped its widely mocked Kendall Jenner ad, and who knows what editing went into the final product — but this is getting bogged down in the details. The juxtaposition is a real boon for Heineken so far, even if the point of both ads is to sell more beverages. The response has been far different from the outrage to Pepsi’s ad, which was pulled one day after its release: