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Why Heineken’s on-site festival marketing includes mobile-optimized beer coupons

Heineken enabled festivalgoers at Outside Lands 2016 to send their friends virtual beer passes through the Buddy Drinks mobile application, giving those recipients easy access to pre-purchased alcohol at the brand’s on-site location while ramping up sales for its products.

The alcohol marketer teamed up with the Buddy Drinks gifting app at this summer’s Outside Lands festival in a bid to drive more traffic to its on-site Heineken House and persuade revelers to purchase its beer. Each individual who visited the Heineken House was given the opportunity to buy a mobile pass for a friend that could be redeemed for a free beer, showcasing how brands can leverage interactive marketing strategies to fuel more purchases at festivals.

“This campaign was very effective in ramping up awareness of Heineken’s products,” said Bobby Marhammat, CEO of Buddy Drinks. “Consumers had a chance to interact, engage and invite their friends into a true VIP experience all while promoting Heineken’s beer at the festival.

“You would hear festival goers at Outside Lands comment that Heineken brought them a true VIP experience that was organized well and allowed them to enjoy their favorite Heineken product and enjoy the different acts.”

Bottling up sales
The Outside Lands activation comprised of collaborations between Heineken, Buddy Drinks and the Corso Agency. In an effort to convince more festivalgoers to visit the Heineken House branded location, Buddy Drinks enabled individuals to send themselves or friends a mobile coupon redeemable for a pre-purchased Heineken beer.

The beer pass also let recipients skip the line at Heineken House, allowing them to retrieve their complimentary drink more quickly.

Buddy Drinks’ back-end system does not require operators to purchase additional equipment, such as scanners or terminals, to deliver the free beverages. Instead, it allows any Wi-Fi enabled device to take the order and verify a coupon using the camera feature.

This technology proves useful when deployed at large-scale events, such as festivals, which may contain multiple redemption locations.

The Heineken House activation at Outside Lands was able to procure a wider fan base for the brand’s beer while ramping up sales.

“Consumers that participated in the campaign have either started to or continued to have an affiliation with the brand, as the brand enabled them to not only enjoy a VIP experience, but also was very relatable,” Mr. Marhammat said. “The crowd loved the setup, exclusive bands and artists, cold brew and customer experience that the Heineken House provided alongside the Buddy Drinks technology.”

Marketers have been flocking to festival-like atmospheres in droves as of late, likely in an effort to reach more millennial consumers and organically join conversations around pop culture and relevant events.

Instead of handing out branded gear to random passersby, Heineken sought to include a major aspect of interactivity within its Heineken House location – one that also incentivized visitors’ friends to stop by and enjoy a beer.

Relying on mobile
Heineken – alongside many other alcohol marketers – has been placing a bigger focus on digital platforms with a slew of mobile-first efforts that leverage location technology and loyalty programs.

Heineken uncapped a new mobile platform earlier this summer, built on the Google Maps API, that enables New York residents to locate nearby bars and venues where Heineken beer is served and soccer games are broadcast, showcasing how alcohol marketers can leverage location technology (see story).

The brand is also adding fizz to mobile loyalty with its Heineken Live application, which offers users a chance to receive different rewards experiences, such as VIP event tickets, each time they visit one of the brand’s beacon-equipped venues (see story).

“It is important for Heineken to maintain a strong presence on mobile channels as that is what its consumers and brand loyalists are pushing for,” Mr. Marhammat said. “Attendees commented that this mobile environment allowed them to engage with Heineken in a medium that they know and prefer.

“Heineken wants to associate with its clientele and this technology gives it the means to do so.”