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

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."

The JFK activation was inspired by the current global multi media campaign 'Voyage', the fifth instalment of the  Heineken® ‘Legends’ platform, featuring the original legend 'Dropped' in a remote outpost in colourful India and finding himself in awkward and bizarre situations when he loses his pet goat. As a true man of the world, he knows how to navigate this new world with ease, even if he finds himself in unfamiliar territory.  

The integrated campaign comprises 4 further editions showing different men being tested to see what they are made of in situations that are way beyond their comfort zone.  Launched globally on 3 June, the first episode featured Rikar, a Spanish waiter, being dropped off in the middle of Alaska with only a tuxedo and plane tickets.  On 1st July the second edition showed Stavros, a yoga teacher and dancer from Greece, reacting to being plunged into the middle of Cambodia, blindfolded, and presented with a giant yellow duck boat (photo below). And there’s a twist to the video, as our man of the world’s birthday happens to fall in the middle of his legendary journey. Running since 22 July is the third intrepid traveller - a New Yorker dropped in Morocco where after lugging a massive block of ice, he comes to face the importance of letting go to become a true traveller rather than a tourist like those he sees on the tour buses around him.  The next episode launches on 12 August so watch this space for more information on that....

The campaign which lives on a variety of platforms across broadcast, digital and mobile, allows consumers to have a truly immersive experience via the Heineken® Dropped YouTube channel. Here, viewers can follow each ‘Dropped’ voyage, access documentary-style content and also contribute their own video entries to the ‘casting couch’ -  with the ultimate chance for consumers who buy special Global Voyage campaign packs of Heineken redeeming a code to play an online game of navigation skills.  A lucky few will win their own legendary travel experience, with prizes on offer to include adrenalin filled travel adventures and perhaps the ultimate adventurer's discipline - space training.