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13th Jun 2023

Heineken prioritises good times over getting its name right on 150th anniversary

Charlie Herbert

Heineken 150th anniversary

It’s not about whether you can spell the name or not

On the 150th anniversary of the famous beer, Heineken is prioritising the good times that are created over a beer, instead of whether you can spell or pronounce the name right.

Heineken’s founder, Freddy Heineken, famously said: “I don’t sell beer, I sell ‘gezelligheid’.” ‘Gezelligheid’ is the feeling of good times, which Heineken has celebrated throughout its history.

And it’s this ‘gezelligheid’ that Heineken is putting front and centre of its 150th anniversary celebrations.

Let’s be honest, if you were asked to spell the word Heineken, a few of you would probably struggle. Need evidence of that? Well, these were the responses when we asked rugby fans at the Champions Cup final in Dublin to do just that…

To celebrate the many weird and wonderful ways people have misspelt Heineken over the years, the brand will replace its logo with some of the many weird and wonderful ways people have misspelt Heineken over the years.

These misspellings will appear across all of Heineken’s social media accounts and website pages, as well as on several new electric lorries.

Because whether you can pronounce or spell Heineken correctly isn’t what’s important. What is important is the good times created over a beer.

And the ‘gezelligheid’ feeling is more important than ever for a lot of us.

Heineken has worked with academics to better understand the ingredients that are needed to deliver that feeling of “good times” in the modern day; a surprisingly under-studied human need.

Heineken has collaborated with behavioural scientist Dr Chris Brauer, of Goldsmiths, University of London, to create the ‘Good Times Index,’ with the aim of focusing not just on the volume of beer it sells but also the good times it delivers for its customers in over 190 countries.  

Heineken is celebrating the many ways it’s been misspelt over the years (Heineken)

Combining human behavioural research with global research, the index has identified the core conditions that people universally need to experience good times, including open-mindedness, inclusivity, and human connection.

The results found that, globally, 87% of people believe it is more important now more than ever for them to have a good time.

Additional consumer research from Heineken shows that 82% care more about being with friends than if their night goes to plan. Surprisingly, 75% of respondents believe that the people you watch a sport match with is more important than if your team wins.

Despite the fact 87% of respondents believe opportunities to connect in person with loved ones have become even more important since the pandemic, over half (61%) admitted that given the current economic climate, they would be prepared to work overtime and sacrifice social moments with friends and family.

The spelling isn’t important – the good times are (Heineken)

Nevertheless, many remain open-minded about good times ahead, with the vast majority (88%) agreeing their best memories come from unexpected moments. This open-mindedness follows through into the ways we socialise, as 78% agree it is important to socialise with people that don’t always share the same views as them – a sentiment most strongly held in Brazil (84%) and the UK (81%).

Dr Brauer said: “When we came to this project, we recognised that the understanding of what makes a good time, required a new and fresher perspective.

“Together with Heineken, we have worked to better understand the multiple dimensions that make up that feeling of ‘Good Times’, and the ways in which it is experienced today.

“Good times are not just one thing or another, they are a multitude of different and subjective feelings, experiences, wants and needs that help generate a sensation and fulfil higher order needs.

“There has never been a more important time or opportunity to measure the role and prevalence of good times in our lives, so I’m excited to see a brand like Heineken take serious steps to ensure that they are better understanding and enabling that feeling of ‘gezelligheid’.”

With the Good Times Index in place, Heineken® is staying true to its vision by becoming the first beer brand to officially have “delivering good times” as part of the way it measures its annual performance – alongside sales and other brand tracking metrics. 

So here’s to the ‘gezelligheid’!

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