Heineken USA's CMO Nuno Teles on tackling politics in marketing campaigns

Fresh off Edelman taking two PR Lions, both Bronzes, for the Worlds Apart campaign for Heineken, Teles discusses the thought process behind the campaign and his outlook for Heineken USA as CMO.

Nuno Teles
Nuno Teles

What is your take on tackling politics in marketing campaigns?
Our approach is not to play with politics but to be true to our brand beliefs and our brand purpose. Heineken as a brand has always embraced diversity and progressiveness. We created our Worlds Apart ad to show what we stand for. The same with Tacate Beer Wall ad. We moved ahead with that to promote the fact we are a true Mexican brand, brewed in the city of Tacate, which is next to the border with the U.S., and we are proud of that. I believe brands need to be true to themselves and to the purpose of what they represent.

What’s your outlook for Heineken U.S.A. as CMO?
I am focused on data-driven marketing and what are the implications into what we do and how we do it. We see very significant changes in the way we approach consumer marketing intelligence, and the way we approach media as a source of insights from our consumers. We have a model that focuses on science, storytelling, the speed at which we go to market, the physical store, and the experience consumers have.

Any recent evolutions in the way you approach marketing?
We are more eager to understand what consumers do, rather than what they tell us, so we are moving into behavior data. We often just looked at what our consumers told us, which gave us part of reality. The other part is what they actually do. Quite often, consumers tell us they are eager to buy the brand, but we don’t see that behavior. What are the barriers to the motivation? In early 2016, we ran a portfolio analysis on the basis of behavior, rather than declaration-claimed data. The big a-ha moment we had was discovering that consumers have, on average, 12 brands in their repertoire over one year. If a consumer buys 12 brands in one year, it means they are not loyal to brands anymore, and they are shifting from one brand to another. It helped us figure out what priority brands we should have in our portfolio.  

Do you have any new plans for Dos Equis’ Most Interesting Man in the World campaign?
The brand is very healthy. The "stay thirsty" [tagline] addresses the brand stance on being suitable for people who want to lead a more interesting life. That is a good place to be because the brand goes beyond just the ideal of the most interesting man. The brand owns a territory that is unique and relevant to the consumer. In social environments, when you are drinking a beer, you want to be seen as an interesting person. In order to be interesting, you need to be interested and curious. That is a rich territory that we can further explore. It has a clear positioning in the minds of the consumers with potential to grow in the future.

Dos Equis is a proud sponsor of the College Football Playoffs. That will be an important part of a follow-up campaign. We are working on a campaign direction that will work over the next four years. I don’t foresee any change in the brand positioning.

Can you elaborate on your brands’ sports-related campaigns?
We believe sports help connect our different consumers with all of our different brands. Soccer is a passion point for consumers that are more likely to buy European import brands like Heineken, so we partnered that brand with Major League Soccer. College football matches well with Dos Equis, and boxing is a passion point of Mexican consumers, so that brand is sponsoring the September fight between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady "GGG" Golovk.

How many people handle marketing and comms at Heineken USA?
60 people.

With which PR agency do you work?
Edelman is our PR AOR.

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