A just-released Heineken ad from the U.K. featuring strangers (one of whom is transgender) reaching across their political differences to learn more about one another other is being hailed as the right way to address politics in advertising, unlike the Kendall Jenner Pepsi commercial unveiled a few weeks ago.
In the four-minute Heineken “Worlds Apart” spot (watch below) three pairs of people, who are reportedly not actors, work together to build a home bar, then watch video clips of each other revealing their clashing views on issues including transgender acceptance, feminism, and climate change. They then must decide whether they still want to have a conversation over a Heineken.
“Fast Company proclaimed it the ‘antidote’ to the now-infamous production in which model Kendall Jenner brings protesters and police together with a can of soft drink,” U.K. newspaper The Guardian reports. “The general tenor of the coverage has been that Heineken has succeeded where Pepsi failed so spectacularly.” Kendall Jenner, by the way, is the daughter of Caitlyn Jenner.
The Heineken ad may have been produced before the Pepsi commercial, but “it was released soon enough after for the comparison to be inevitable,” The Guardian notes. The beer ad works because it’s “nonjudgmental” and merely suggests that people with divergent views talk about their differences, advertising executive Tony Hale told the paper.
“The Pepsi one’s the opposite, it’s completely contrived,” he said. “It’s trying to say Pepsi plays an active role in solving the problems of the world when it’s a bloody soft drink.” Pepsi pulled the ad after just a few days.
The Heineken commercial has received much praise on social media, with comments on Twitter including “This is obviously the anti-Pepsi”; “Hey, @pepsi, this is how you make an ad about bridging the political divide”; and “#Heineken ad unlike #Pepsi didn't need Kendall Jenner or any other celeb to make a social impact. Just a socially aware marketing team.”