Heineken: Heineken Gamifies Brand Engagement to Drive Awareness of Heineken Silver


Campaign Summary

Heineken launched a digital-first omnichannel campaign that brought to life its modern premium, smooth credentials, and enabled consumers to experience the world of Heineken. The brand created a gamified experience in which consumers could collect "eKoin" by engaging with the brand and redeem the branded currency for once-in-a-lifetime experiences.



In Vietnam, South East Asia's biggest and most competitive beer market, Heineken was on the decline and had been for almost five years. While the brand still maintained high levels of awareness and meaningfulness, its total sales were declining year over year.

The core issue was that while Heineken was still recognized as a premium brand, in the eyes of younger consumers, especially generation Z, it was seen as a beer that was for older generations and for premium occasions only.

Enter Heineken Silver.

Launching in 2019, Silver was a refreshingly smooth session-able beer perfectly crafted to suit the taste palates of a young Vietnamese audiences. It immediately allowed the brand to start making inroads with a younger audience. However, more needed to be done for Heineken to truly create an impact and change long held perceptions about the brand and the occasions it was suitable for.

In 2022, Heineken's objective was to accelerate the impact and uptake of Silver with younger Vietnamese consumers by creating greater brand engagement, incremental sales, and ultimately change the way the brand was perceived.

Target Audience:

Heineken's challenge was to win over the Vietnamese generation Z consumer and dispel its association with conventions and special occasions. The brand knew from research that they were also a generation that engages with brands in ways that bridge the digital world with reality.

In Vietnam the clearest demonstration of this was the speed and uptake of digital payment, currencies, and wallets. Digital payments alone grew by an astonishing 20 percent a year, and even the government piloting virtual currency payment.

Creative Strategy:

Rather than create just another beer campaign, Heineken built a long-term integrated platform capable of better engaging a digitally native audience in the world of Heineken and give them the means to turn their brand love into a path to purchase.

The brand introduced the "eKoin" — the first digital token from Heineken. Unlike other digital tokens, the eKoin wasn't prone to fluctuation, panic buying, theft, or Elon Musk's most recent tweet. It was an opportunity to pay its audience based on how much they engaged with and drank Heineken.

The platform offered users various perks, including once-in-a-lifetime experiences, limited edition rewards, and the opportunity to get more of Heineken Silver.


Silver had entered the Vietnam market in 2019. However, the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions was the opportunity the brand had been looking for to accelerate its efforts. Based on Asian beer drinking habits, Heineken evolved its messaging to bring to life the "unexpectedly smooth" nature of Heineken Silver.

However, the major shift was in the brand's approach to communication. A shift from creating a campaign, to building a long-term platform that would lay the foundation from which to engage its audience in the years to come.


Overall Campaign Execution:

Heineken launched a digital-first omnichannel campaign that brought to life its modern premium, smooth credentials, and enabled consumers to experience the brand.

To create awareness, the brand recruited Vietnam's most influential and smoothest stars to create a collective it would call "The Silver Smooth Gang." However, the heart of the campaign was the eKoin platform, a long-term platform developed to create ongoing engagement with the audience.

From their local convenience store to social media, a simple QR code or click would give consumers the opportunity to start mining eKoin. The more they engaged and bought Heineken, the more eKoins they would get. The collected eKoins could then be redeemed for once-in-a-lifetime experiences and limited edition gifts.

To launch the platform, the brand invited the Heineken Silver Smooth Gang and leveraged their channels to create organic awareness and interest in the campaign.

To drive awareness and create buzz among generation Z consumers, Heineken launched the campaign with a teaser video, featuring its Smooth Gang influencers highlighting the tension of "stuffy" situations and the need to escape using the brand's "Smooth Gears." The launch enabled the brand to drive organic traffic to the platform from the Smooth Gang's followers. The campaign then officially launched with an integrated digital and offline campaign, detailing the Smooth Gang's escape from daily stuffiness through the help of Silver Smooth Gear, triggering excitement and buzz among the generation Z audience.

The eKoin hub was the heart of Heineken's campaign. The target audience could engage with the platform to earn eKoin and earn additional eKoins by scanning limited edition packs or QR codes at outlets. To maximize traffic and engagement with eKoin, Heineken implemented queuing and leaderboard tactics to encourage healthy competition and a sense of urgency to capture eKoin. Limited edition goods and experiences were dropped weekly with the highest eKoin earners having the opportunity to redeem their tokens to win in once in a lifetime experiences.

Embracing its gamified approach, Heineken partnered with AOV to create an eKoin event in one of the most popular games on the market, creating more relevance, engagement, and traffic to the eKoin hub.

Throughout the campaign influencers, media and PR partners were working non-stop to provide live updates on the leaderboard, alert audience of new drops, and amplify the buzz generated from the hub, creating a constant stream of awareness, traffic, and engagement.

A livestream revealed the most coveted of Heineken's gifts: the Heinekicks — a one of a kind edition pair of sneakers in collaboration with "The Shoe Surgeon," a celebrated sneaker designer who has created sneakers for the likes of LeBron James, and Drake.

The top 100 most engaged eKoin collectors were invited to participate in the livestream for an opportunity to win and receive them at an exclusive event with the Smooth Gang. These final rewards created an opportunity to cap off the campaign with a bombastic event, featuring the Smooth Gang celebrating their smooth escape from stuffiness. The event became the talk of the town and provided a fitting reward for generation Z drinkers.

Business Impact (including context, evaluation, and market impact)

Campaign results included:

  • A nine-point increase in brand differentiation.
  • The mining of 12.6 million eKoins (35 percent over the target).
  • Consumers spent an average of 6.2 minutes on the platform (over 200 percent more than the benchmark).
  • An unprecedented 23.35 percent conversion rate (10 times higher than the benchmark).
  • A 260 percent increase of Silver 6 pack case sales compared to 2021.
  • More than 42 million liters of Heineken Silver consumed.
  • Heineken volume grew significantly for the first time in five years.
  • Heineken Silver accounting for 70 percent of the total volume of Heineken sold in Vietnam.

Categories: | Industries: | Objectives: Creator/Influencer Marketing, Customer Life-Cycle Marketing, Instant Impact, Spatial Technology, User Experience (UX) & Design | Awards: X Global Gold Winner, X Global Silver Winner