Case Study: Heineken Uses Foursquare Partnership to Reach Target Demo

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HeinekenBrand: Heineken
Size: Operations in 70+ countries
Platforms: Foursquare
Bottom Line: Location-based check-in campaigns help drive engagement around real-time activities, like sporting events.

Size matters for Heineken, which is why the global beverage brand took a close look at Foursquare’s 40 million users and 3.6 million check-ins at bars, restaurants, and nightlife venues when deciding whether to partner with the vendor on its 2014 mobile campaign.

“As a brand, we are always investigating new and innovative ways to bring our programs to life,” Heineken brand manager Bram Reukers told Street Fight. “By partnering with Foursquare we were able to communicate this program at the point of purchase in bars and restaurants through post check-in ads.”

The company is currently promoting a “mobile experience” that it has dubbed the Match Your Half Ticket campaign. The promotion involves a mobile website where soccer fans are encouraged to sign up for a chance to win prizes like signed memorabilia. Foursquare plays an integral part in this campaign. Fans are encouraged to link their Foursquare accounts when signing up for the promotion on Heineken’s mobile site. Heineken then rewards check-ins at on- or off-premise sites — like sports bars and restaurants — with loyalty points and weekly prizes, like branded merchandise from partners like the UEFA Champions League (UCL) and Adidas. Each time a registered user checks-in on Foursquare, that person’s name is entered to win a grand prize trip to an UEFA Champions League game in Europe. The limited-time promotion runs through the UCL Championship Game on May 24th.

Another important element in Heineken’s mobile campaign involves something called the “Heineken Fan Footprint,” which is a live, constantly-updating infographic that shows which UEFA teams have the most active fans in the U.S.

“Currently Barcelona is the most popular club, and N.Y. is the city with the most active fans,” Reukers explains.

By pulling data directly from its own mobile campaign, Heineken is also able to show which bars and restaurants are most popular with UCL fans in the U.S. This information can then be used by soccer fans deciding where to go to watch games in the company of fellow fans.

Although Heineken ran a small Foursquare campaign during last year’s U.S. Open, Reukers said this is the first time the company has done a location-based promotion on a national scale. He sees hyperlocal check-ins as the perfect way to reward consumers in the company’s target demographic — American soccer fans and Mexican/Hispanic U.S. consumers.

“The decision to work with Foursquare was based on the fact that we could share relevant content at the right time — at the point of purchase — with UCL fans,” said Reukers.

Heineken has historically struggled to become more relevant within Hispanic communities in the U.S., and Reukers said the company’s new mobile campaign is an effort to reach those consumers through the UCL, which is one of the “biggest passion points” within the Hispanic community.

“The challenge with the UCL is that the games are played in Europe, and therefore the games are during office hours in the U.S. We also know that our target is digitally savvy and a heavy mobile user,” Reukers said. “As a brand that always looks to innovate, this campaign allows us to connect with our target through mobile and share the best of UCL through digital sharing and experiences.”

The Takeaway
Heineken made the strategic decision to partner with Foursquare on its latest mobile initiative for two main reasons. First, the hyperlocal vendor boasts an impressive 40 million users and 3.6 million check-ins in bars, restaurants, and nightlife venues, which were the specific types of establishments that Heineken was hoping to target with its promotion. Secondly, Reukers said the brand chose to work with Foursquare because Foursquare is the platform that consumers in its target demographic — American soccer fans and Mexican/Hispanic U.S. consumers — use most frequently for check-in purposes.

Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.

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Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.