Heineken The Candidate: People’s Insights: Volume 2, Issue 27

What is The Candidate?

The Candidate is video compilation of secretly filmed job interviews at Heineken.

The interviews were designed to get applicants out of their comfort zone and to help the brand find talent that best fits the Heineken spirit. The Candidate highlights Heineken brand culture and has helped the brand engage with the external and internal audiences.

After all, Heineken is well known for its beer and remarkable campaigns, but not much is known about its corporate culture. With The Candidate, Heineken demonstrates that the Heineken brand attitude “Open your world” is also evident within the company.

Heiniken- The Candidate -1

How it works

Heineken chose this unconventional method to recruit an intern for their events and sponsorship team. The intern’s responsibilities would include following the UEFA Champions League Trophy as it tours the world and the opportunity to meet football heroes.

1,734 people applied for the role. Shortlisted candidates were invited to Amsterdam for a three stage interview process. It began with the kick-off stage, where the boss led the interviewee into the meeting room by holding hands the entire way; medical assistance, which involved helping the boss as he “blacks-out” during the meeting; and fire drill, where fire-fighters call for help to rescue a stranded Heineken employee from the roof after a “fire alert”.

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Source: elmaaltshift.com

Candidates?interviews were filmed and the best three videos were uploaded to the company intranet, where employees could vote for the candidate who had the necessary skills to work in the Heineken marketing department. The winner was then brought to the Juventus stadium to celebrate his new job.

Heineken – The Candidate

Viral Journey

The best moments from the video interviews were compiled into the short film The Candidate, which was published on Heineken’s Facebook page in February, 2013.

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Source: Mashable.com

That same day, the story broke on Mashable, followed by a tweet from Pete Cashmore, Mashable’s editor. Other hybrid media (Huffington Post and Creativity Online) picked it up before traditional media got on board. When Forbes, Guardian, business insider continued the story, they confirmed that not only was it humorous but also had real marketing value to the industry. Each media shared it on their social media channels, creating a knock-on effect that made the film go viral.

Rob Schwartz from Forbes noted:

“The Dutch beer brand has done some nice advertising and some smart sponsorship for decades. Very recently, they came up with a ‘program’. The marketing objective is simple: Think big sport, think Heineken. Heineken creates some hilarious content ?that all actually relate to their sponsorship.”

Jonathan Health, Online editor at Spectrecom noted:

“Within this campaign Heineken have not only produced a quality piece of video marketing. The crowd source element has involved their social media channels lobbying for input in choosing “The Candidate” encouraging sharing and engagement and improving the virility of the piece.”

Youtube Stats- Heineken 4

Heineken YouTube Statistics

From February till early August there were around 5,062,921 views (bulls eye on male target audience 24-54) and 22,973 likes on YouTube.

As per the Cannes Lions entry, the campaign has been mentioned 15,276 times in social and digital media, of which 87% were favourable mentions (79% male, age 21-50).

Local markets like India and Brazil adapted The Candidate, recruiting with the same method a local photo reporter for the 2013 Champions League final.

Creative & Unconventional approach

Heineken turned around a standard procedure of interviews into an experience of a lifetime for the job applicants. They proved that getting out of your comfort zone gives you an opportunity to see another side of you and truly explore ones calibre and real worth. Additionally, Heineken struck a chord with the youth by recruiting an intern who portrays values like creativity, spontaneity and passion which are valued at Heineken.

Adam Grant a Wharton professor pointed out what millennials really want out of work:

“Whether we’re Boomers, Gen Xers, or Millennials, we’re searching for interesting, meaningful jobs that challenge and stretch us. For jobs that allow us to support our lives and families outside work, earn respect and form significant relationships, and make a difference in the lives of others.”

Through the campaign the candidates were put through unfamiliar but real life circumstances thus influencing not just the participants but also many other people who created a buzz on social media.

Daylon D’Cruz, Associate Account Director MSLGROUP (India) pointed out that Heineken has strengthened its brand value by leveraging the combination of beer and football:

“Heineken’s The Candidate connects two passions of the world, football and beer, and nothing can excite more than a sports internship. The campaign fit right in with the brands attitude of ‘Open your World’. Through the various stages of the campaign it not only managed to make candidates look beyond the ordinary but also gave the outside world a glimpse into its culture, thereby strengthening the reputation of beer = fun”.

Internal Branding & Engagement

Companies have always embraced the concept of internal referrals, but Heineken has set a perfect example for crowdsourcing talent through this campaign. The campaign not only helped Heineken get a good intern but also instilled a sense of pride among the Heineken employees to work in the organisation.

As per the Cannes entry, 91% of Heineken employees watched the video and found it stimulating for their job. There was also a +279% traffic increase on Heineken’s HR sites and +317% increase in CV’s submitted after campaign launch.

Recognition in the industry


In the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity 2013, Heineken won the Gold Lion PR for The Candidate, which was also selected for a TITANIUM and INTEGRATED BRONZE award

Many social media and PR websites shared and tweeted about the Gold Lion PR win for The Candidate and also outlined the brand’s creative and unconventional approach.

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Source: Twitter.com

The Heineken brand strategy ‘Open Your World’ was successfully introduced into the corporate office environment and the campaign has helped employees better identify themselves with the Heineken brand. Most importantly The Candidate has influenced people, especially future employees of Heineken.


MSLGROUP‘s People’s Lab crowdsourcing platform and approach helps organizations tap into people’s insights for innovation, storytelling and change. The People’s Lab crowdsourcing platform also enables our distinctive insights and foresight approach, which consists of four elements: organic conversation analysis, MSLGROUP’s own insight communities, client-specific insights communities, and ethnographic deep dives into these communities.

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As an example, 100+ thinkers and planners within MSLGROUP share and discuss inspiring projects on reputation, employee engagement and citizenship on the MSLGROUP Insights Network. Every week, we pick up one project and do a deep dive into conversations around it — on the MSLGROUP Insights Network itself but also on the broader social web — to distill insights and foresights.

We share these insights and foresights with you on our People’s Insights blog and compile the best insights from the network and the blog in the People’s Lab Quarterly Magazine, as a showcase of our capabilities. We have further synthesized the insights from 2012 to provide foresights for business leaders and changemakers ?in the ten-part People’s Insights Annual Report titled Now & Next: Ten Frontiers for the Future of Engagement, also available as a Kindle eBook.

As you can imagine, we can bring the same innovative approach to help you distill insights and foresights from conversations and communities. To start a conversation on how we can help you win with insights and foresights, write to Pascal Beucler at pascal.beucler@mslgroup.com.