Drinking and driving is a societal issue that has been addressed by government bodies and brands, historically highlighting the harsh reality people can face as a result of their actions. With numerous initiatives that use scare tactics, Heineken® identified a blank space to encourage people through positive behavior.

In 2016, Heineken launched its When You Drive, Never Drink campaign as a responsible-consumption platform for the F1 sponsorship. The brewer partnered with F1 legend Sir Jackie Stewart to create a television commercial that creatively communicated the anti-drinking and driving message. To continue conveying a strong responsible-consumption message, Heineken® set out to tangibly reduce drinking and driving on a global scale.

To have an impact, Heineken needed to understand the deep-rooted causes of drunk driving behavior and use this knowledge to create real change. The ambition was to create a program that served as proof-of-concept for the brand’s local markets to implement and reduce drinking and driving globally.

To understand behaviors and habits of the campaign’s audience—drivers—Heineken conducted global research in 10 markets among 10,000 drivers.

Heineken discovered that 79 percent of people have good intentions before a night out, yet these fail as the evening unfolds, and 77 percent find at least one situation where it’s acceptable to drink and drive.

Other social pressures take over at the point of decision-making: 49 percent of drunk drivers get caught up in having fun and 27 percent of drunk drivers say they sometimes choose to forget they are driving when they're having a good time. One in four drunk drivers find it acceptable to drink and drive after succumbing to social pressures.

With the knowledge that drivers give in to social pressures at the bar, Heineken created a behavioral-change program to change the psychology of drunk drivers from the moment they enter the bar. Partnering with behavior-change experts, Innovia Technology, we redesigned the existing bar environment with 20 interventions, reminders and prompts, to encourage people to stay alcohol-free when driving.

Using the research insights, “nudges” were created to ensure cultural relevance and inclusion of a behavioral-change technique. These were tested in a two-week pilot study in bars in drunk driving hotspots across the UK. The campaign encouraged drivers not to drink and drive by deploying tactics such as posting signage in nightlife areas and parking lots persuading drivers to stay alcohol-free; non-alcoholic drinks were made easily available at nightspots; and bars and clubs communicated their wide variety of alcohol-free offers and driver’s menus. Positive behavior was also rewarded through driver incentives with support from participating bars.

The Impact

Heineken’s anti-drinking and driving message, communicated in a positive manner, reached everywhere from concept through design, creating real-world impact and huge uptake. The UK’s success resulted in proof-of-concept for markets to roll out.

  • Prominent “nudges” delivered a reduction in drunk driving: Bars with the highest level of support for the pilot saw drinking and driving reduction behavior of up to 50%
  • Peer support matters: 80% of people said the program would encourage them to support their friends not to drink alcohol if driving • Public commitment is an impactful tool to promote drunk driving behavior change: 60% of people said the pilot made them think about changing their behavior
  • Prominence of alcohol-free options had a positive impact: 14% more customers said it was easier to access alcohol-free beers from control week to test week

Markets around the world have successfully implemented the program and are evaluating rolling out on scale.

  • Brazil - 25% reduction in drinking and driving
  • New Zealand - 7% reduction in drunk driving
  • The UK, Brazil and New Zealand are planning the next chapter, rolling out on scale, with markets to follow: The Netherlands, Nigeria, Mexico, South Africa

Leveraging the campaign’s ambassadors and F1 sponsorship, we launched the research results at the Canadian GP in June 2018.

  • +700M potential reach
  • +479 articles • +90.6K engagements
  • +2.6K mentions • Heineken earned second-largest share-of-voice by mention and engagement
  • 1.1 million film views across Heineken® channels
  • Coverage across 22 markets