CAMPAIGNS: SPONSORSHIP; Travel broadens Heineken image

Client: Whitbread Beer Company PR Team: Cohn and Wolfe Campaign: Heineken Export Wildest Dreams Travel Bursary Timescale: January - June 1996 Budget: pounds 100,000

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

Export Lager.

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.

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