That Heineken Ad Isn’t Sweet; It’s Dangerous
Mirah Curzer

I had written the below text as a response to the ad, and it feels relevant to drop in here. That said, I feel like you got at an even more important issue with the ad that’s lurking just below the surface. Thank you for sharing I really appreciate it.

My thoughts on why the ad is popular but harmful: It’s well made and checks all the boxes you need to check in order to make the target (Liberal Millennials) feel good. Specifically, it suggests a world where you could ever actually have a balanced conversation where you talk sense into that friend/family member that voted for Trump and still defends him, or slanders on Facebook the way that you or your friends live.

The ad even suggests a course of action that I think is pretty solid: give people a chance to not be horrible, or come around to not being horrible, before you decide they’re horrible.

When the ad steps into truly disingenuous territory is when they don’t show any of these conversations going awry. It’s so curated and so dishonest. I’ve had an anti-vaccine mother name call me and walk out on a date for my disagreeing with her. I’ve been called slurs and dismissed during conversations about LGBTQ rights. I, like many of you, have tried to have these conversations and they’re hard, they normally don’t go well, and they wouldn’t be any easier because I built some IKEA furniture with someone beforehand. The reality is you usually don’t get a hyper-contrived setup for the conversation (and cameras to keep you on good behavior) when you try to have it.

In the world of this ad reason overcomes emotion/disinformation (hahahaha). That’s fine, plenty of brands present idealized world views to endear themselves to consumers, it is advertising after all. And I’m not saying what they’re suggesting is impossible. I just think it would have been a hell of a lot more impressive, real, and motivational if they had said “be open to your opinion changing, and even though these conversations are difficult and daunting and won’t always go well, they’re worth trying to have anyway.”

“P.S. Please buy our beer.”