Client: Whitbread Beer Company
PR Team: Cohn and Wolfe
Campaign: Heineken Export Wildest Dreams Travel Bursary
Timescale: January - June 1996
Budget: pounds 100,000
This year, Whitbread Beer Company pledge pounds 25,000 of sponsorship to
a Heineken Export Travel Bursary in a bid to raise the profile of its
The creation of a travel bursary was recommended by Cohn and Wolfe
following an independent research project which revealed Heineken
Export’s prime target audience as 18 to 35 years olds with a keen
interest in independent travel. The bursary was to be used to fund the
travels and adventures of young people in the UK, helping them to
realise their ‘Wildest Dreams.’
To devise a PR programme to raise consumer awareness of Heineken Export
and communicate the brand’s international credentials.
An exploitation campaign was built around the travel bursary, which on
the basis of research was believed to be pivotal to raising awareness of
the brand while highlighting its international market. It was thought
the bursary would have a logical appeal to the brand’s target audience.
The initiative was given momentum by the Independent, which provided
media sponsorship of the bursary and guaranteed coverage of the
campaign. ‘Rather than rely solely on promotions we approached travel
writers directly, who wrote a number of features on adventurous travel,
based around the bursary,’ said Mark Cooper, account manager at Cohn and
Applicants for the bursary were asked to call a telephone hotline
telephone number which was carried by the media sponsor, the Internet
and featured on posters and leaflets, distributed in pubs, clubs and
Independent travel agents STA Travel and Lonely Planet, the travel guide
publishers were recruited as partners to support the programme, acting
as members of the judging panel and providing credibility to the
Promotions in key lifestyle media, such as FHM and GQ, offered the
opportunity to win limited edition ‘Wildest Dreams’ merchandise. This
was extended to a series of independent travel exhibitions, such as the
Independent Travellers Fair.
The response to the campaign was very positive, both in terms of media
coverage and competition entries. Over 5,000 people called the Heineken
Export Wildest Dreams hotline and Cohn and Wolfe received 1,000 entry
forms. National and regional coverage was extensive with 90 articles
being generated over five months, ranging from features to diary pieces.
Ten broadcast items were aired, including slots on Virgin FM and the
BBC. As the winners of the bursary return from their travels further
coverage is expected to be generated.
The decision to venture beyond the safe and traditional associations
between beer and sporting sponsorship, was a brave one, especially
considering the detailed nature of the competition entries. However, the
level of responses vindicated the decision.
According to Carma International, which carried out a detailed
evaluation of the campaign, the ‘internationalism of the brand was
strongly represented in coverage.’
According to Martin Thomas, joint managing director of Cohn and Wolfe,
there was fear that Heineken would be regarded as the name behind
‘Wildest Dreams’, rather than Heineken Export. But when coverage was
analysed 100 per cent of the respondents referred to Heineken Export as
the creators of the ‘Wildest Dreams’, rather than Heineken. Cohn and
Wolfe’s partnerships with Lonely Planet, STA Travel and the Independent
will also help to generate interest in the returning travellers.