Are Legends Born or Made?

Are legends born, or made? To find out Heineken®, as part of its latest marketing campaign called ‘Voyage’, is undertaking what some marketers call a daring experiment.  In the marketing campaign, Heineken is testing what men are truly made of when taken out of their daily lives and dropped into the great unknown.

Imagine the situation. You are a highly social person. Your friends say you are out-going and confident.

You get chosen to go on a legendary adventure – something you have never done before – a new experience that will test your metal. But then you find yourself in the freezing wilderness of Alaska – alone on a glacier, with nothing but a giant life-ring, a tuxedo, and a plane ticket to get you home – and the airport is hundreds of miles away. I bet you wish you had watched all those episodes of Bear Grylls on Survivorman, don’t you?

This is ‘Voyage’, a new marketing campaign from a premium beer brand that takes different men from across the world and drops them in remote global locations with nothing but the most basic of supplies and directions. The result is a series called ‘Dropped’ -episodic adventures following these intrepid explorers on their legendary travel experience.

‘Voyage’ is the fifth installment Heineken’s overall marketing effort called the ‘Legends’ platform. The integrated campaign, which exists on a variety of platforms from broadcast, to digital, to mobile, will allow consumers to have a truly immersive experience via the Heineken® Dropped YouTube channel. Here, viewers will be able to follow each ‘Dropped’ voyage, access documentary-style content and also contribute their own video entries to the ‘casting couch’ –  with the ultimate chance of partaking in their own legendary travel adventure.

Every ‘Dropped’ travel adventure is tailored towards the character of its main protagonist – forcing them to discover their own limits and conquer their fears. Across four continents these men will face a multitude of challenges – tough terrain, curious locals, and unusual modes of transport. Social media is a big part of the campaign as well. As the Dropped episodes unfold, so the social experiment will come to life. Viewers will be able to follow how each traveler fares through a series of diary entries and journey updates. Just think of the impact that a campaign like this could have for the Heineken brand.

Admittedly, this is a complex marketing campaign with a huge budget; not the kind of thing that most smaller businesses could take on. But, in your small business, consider the possibilities. Heineken is basically creating a contest of sorts. Men from all over the world will submit applications hoping to be a part of the show. Whether they are accepted or not is immaterial. They represent a population of beer lovers that will likely follow the series. And, since it involves beer, the preferred liquid of the species, they’ll share their thoughts on their own social channels. Think Facebook, Twitter, and even Pinterest (yes, some men do actually use Pinterest).

What is the contestant’s final destination?  Home. Will they make it? The answer lies within each adventurer – the outcome of each Dropped encounter is completely unscripted, with the participants desire to overcome the challenges the only measurement for success. For all we know legends aren’t made, they’re Dropped. What is Heineken’s final destination? More sales, of course; and an elevated brand image. Without the undying love of your customers, that’s a hard thing to come by.

Watch the video. What do you think? Will you follow the series? Will you tweet about it? Will you buy another Heineken? As for me, I’m a man, so what’s to decide? Adventure and beer. What could be better?

About Nate Goodman

Nathan Goodman is a freelance fiction writer and the bestselling author of The Special Agent Jana Baker Spy-Thriller Series. "A terrorist on the loose, a country in panic, and time is running out..." For a free copy visit the author's website.