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NEW YORK — Heineken Premium Lager is getting into the game with a new integrated campaign for the upcoming soccer season.
The beer brand is pairing up with UEFA Champions League (UCL) and Major League Soccer (MLS) to launch its "Soccer Is Here" fully integrated, 360-degree retail and on-premise program. The campaign, which begins March 1, encourages legal drinking age fans to choose Heineken for all of their soccer viewing activities.
According to Heineken, national TV, digital partnerships, social support, account activation and a consumer sweepstakes rewarding shoppers every minute of every UCL and MLS match will drive consumer engagement and increase consideration and sales of Heineken at every point along the shopper's path to purchase.
"Watching soccer is a game of stamina and planning. Whether at home, at the bar or in the stadium, fans must be prepared for a full 45-minute half with no time-outs from the action," said Jonathan Simpson, director of trade marketing, Heineken USA. "Our partnership with UCL and MLS builds on the excitement of the starting whistle and encourages fans to 'Never Miss a Minute' by reminding them to be prepared with food and drinks before the kickoff while offering them the chance to win prizes during every minute of every match."
To drive awareness of the campaign, Heineken is activating strategic digital ad placements with mobile, tablet, desktop and place-based media to keep Heineken top of mind while targeting consumers seeking soccer-relevant content.
Heineken is also partnering with on-demand beer delivery service Drizly to reach consumers who are ready to order instantly to stock up for their soccer watching occasions.
To keep fans engaged throughout the season, Heineken has created an interactive digital desktop, tablet and mobile-compatible soccer hub that will be the fan's portal for all information on both soccer leagues and matches, including: play schedules, countdown to match-days and a product locator so fans can easily locate the nearest Heineken retailer.
In addition, the hub will provide fans with live score updates, the latest world soccer news and special offers, as well as provide a portal to share photos and content and allow fans to buy tickets and enter the sweeps during matches where winners will be selected every minute of every UCL/MLS match.
Regional and national accounts are also encouraged to visit the hub to customize the Heineken experience for their retail and on-premise locations and create individual contest elements and activations to drive consumers in-store to increase purchase of Heineken and other relevant viewing items.
Materials for the program include visual displays and point-of-sale materials such as pole toppers, five- and 10-case stackers, price cards, cooler decals, posters, table tents and coasters directing consumers to Heineken's digital soccer hub.
At retail, cross-merchandising offers and mail-in rebates, where legal, on the purchase of Heineken products and game day snack essentials will generate higher basket rings, the company added.
"Soccer is one of the fastest-growing sports in the U.S. with a fan base of 110 million that is projected to significantly increase in the coming years. Heineken is the No. 1 selling European beer among U.S. soccer fans, the most popular brand among both UCL and MSL fans, and the brand fans most associate with soccer sponsorship," Simpson said.
"The brand is uniquely positioned within the category to expand on our existing role with soccer, offering retailers and on-premise operators new opportunities to increase their Heineken sales and profits as the sport continues to grow in the U.S," he added.
Heineken USA Inc. is a subsidiary of Heineken International NV. European brands imported into the United States include Heineken, Strongbow Hard Apple Ciders, Amstel Light, and Newcastle Brown Ale. Heineken USA also imports the Dos Equis Franchise, Tecate Franchise, Sol, Indio, Carta Blanca and Bohemia brands from Mexico.