Heineken Challenges New York Travelers to Drop Everything and Play ‘Departure Roulette’

Heineken's ‘Departure Roulette’ creates an amazing real-life, real-time social experiment activation for travelers at JFK airport


Why is it that so many travellers arrive at the airport, check-in, check out the departure boards - and can't resist choosing a fantasy destination that isn't on their boarding card?   Heineken® thinks it has the answer.

We've probably all fantasised about turning up at the airport with just a passport, credit card and smart phone and choosing our destination from the screens.  Or sitting waiting for a business flight perhaps we idly imagine which destination we'd rather go to before getting on our scheduled flight to that meeting in Frankfurt, Hong Kong or Dubai.  But how many of us would actually be brave enough to take a chance and choose an unknown adventure given such a real opportunity?

Heineken® USA has done just that with their ‘Departure Roulette’, creating an amazing real-life, real-time social experiment activation for travellers at JFK airport in July with the latest twist on Heineken's® Global Voyage activation.  Passengers were invited at random to press a button on an old style flight clicker board in return for promising they would cancel their current flight plans and head off instead immediately for the destination that appeared on the board.  

The first lucky participant was Greg Vositis (pictured below), a student from the University of Connecticut who, instead of travelling to Vienna at 5.15pm to visit his grandparents, ended up flying to Cyprus later that evening for two nights with paid accommodation and $2000 to cover expenses.  Heineken also arranged a flight from Cyprus to Vienna later that same week and from Vienna back to New York on 25 August to tie in with Greg's original plans.  7 other lucky travellers also won trips to destinations including Portugal, Thailand and Laos.

Natascha Waterbeek, Marketing Manager, Heineken® Global Duty Free comments; "Although this is not a duty free activation as such, as a global brand Heineken® takes a holistic approach that engages seamlessly across all channels in all markets. Heineken® is the #1 premium international beer available in 198 countries around the world, therefore, airlines and airports with their international nature are a strategic fit and perfect channel for us. We want to inspire our consumers to be resourceful and open to the world.

Innovation is at the heart of how we are redefining the Beer category throughout Travel Retail with specially designed concepts that make the category into much more of a premium proposition than in the past.  In airports we are growing the number of  Heineken® bars and lounges at the world's leading hubs as well as delivering excitement with events like this one at JFK.  On ferries and at border stores we're creating stand-out at point of purchase with travel specific designs like Beers of the World displays which introduce our broader range of portfolio brands next to Heineken® appealing to the traveller's mindset in situ.  On cruise ships we're really seeing the commercial benefits of bringing a spirit of entertainment through bar staff training to create the perfect pouring ritual via the ‘Heineken Star Serve on board edition.  We're actively developing much more innovation as a core aspect of our strategy in Travel Retail and will be revealing details of some of these at TFWA in Cannes in October."

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