Every man is legendary at something, says Heineken

“The Odyssey” by Heineken® is an adventure in cool, exploring the possible, with an underlying message of self-confidence for every man. And every woman.

Let’s start with a confession.  I am not a big fan of commercials.  I flip the radio station in the car when the talking starts.  I have a sudden urge to visit the bathroom or the fridge when TV ads come on.  I don’t click on ads on websites – I just don’t.

But I have nothing against entertainment.

Which is where an amusing commercial called “The Odyssey” from Heineken® comes in.  I know, you’re probably rolling your eyes and wondering what I see in yet another beer commercial of good buddies, babes in bikinis, everybody having a good time, a cooler of ice with cans of beer, etc.

Scenes from The Odyssey by Heineken

The Heineken® commercial is different in a few important ways.

  • Bottles, not cans.
  • A lobster opens the bottle. (cameo appearance)
  • The lead character with dry hair hops aboard a cruise ship from below. (Don’t try this at home, for obvious reasons.)
  • He is a bearded dude. (Here is why that is so cool!)
  • He limbos. (OK, that’s almost normal for beer commercials.)
  • He dresses in two seconds flat.
  • A seagull comes at his beckoning.
  • He slides down the banister.
  • He catches a lady’s eyes (She’s in a classy dress, not a bikini.) and sends her a Heineken by shuffleboard, nailing it right through the walking feet of another lady.
  • He does some pretty crazy – make that “wild” – dance steps (including an incredible Russian!) with the dancing girls on stage.
  • Finally he does a backward dive off the edge of the cruise ship, back into the ocean from whence he first appeared. (No word on whether his hair stayed dry.)

Bottom line, this commercial holds our attention – who is this dude?  What will he do next?  And most importantly, Heineken® does not cast him as leaning on his beer in order to get the attention of the ladies.  He has their attention along with everyone else’s, and by the way, he drinks Heineken®.

The creators of the ad say that The Odyssey celebrates the premise that every man is legendary at something. The central character is played by several actors, chosen in open auditions for their unique talents and skills – because every man is legendary at something. Every woman, too, but this one is about men. Get the message – it’s a great self-esteem booster.

In the words of Sandrine Huijgen, Heineken® Global Communications Director…

“Our Legends campaign is an entertaining homage to our drinkers and their legendary behaviours. We are convinced that many of our drinkers out there have at least one legendary talent. They just need a chance to show it to the world. This is why we decided to offer our next film, The Odyssey, as an opportunity for 20 young men to show us what they’ve got. And they are all legendary.”

So let’s go straight to the commercial…

Seems legit.  Especially the dry hair when he comes on board from below. But not everybody agrees. Some people have taken to criticizing the authenticity of the commercial. So Heineken® has taken to the airwaves to fight back. Here is what they have to say…



In fact, if you want to see the casting films of each of the actors, there is an interactive video that shows them all on Heineken®’s interactive Odyssey video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFiup2LIcSQ&feature=youtu.be

The Odyssey follows neatly the earlier “Voyage” campaign, in which Heineken® drinkers were also cast as “legendary”. They were drop-shipped into the middle of nowhere and amazingly found their way home. Without even a seagull to call on for assistance.

This post is sponsored by Heineken®, but the opinions are all my own (mine, all mine!). So let’s take out our lobsters and raise a bottle to them for such an entertaining experience.

The Odyssey Poster

Here is the campaign poster for The Odyssey.
Just like a movie.

What are you made of?

Have you ever wondered what you are made of?  I was recently watching the movie Elysium, and cringing at the non-stop beating that Max (Matt Damon) takes.  I mean, he takes one brutal punishment after another…and all I could think of is that I would never last.

Or would I?

Heineken®, who is a sponsor of this blog post, means to find out.  No, they won’t be breaking any of my body parts or drowning me in radiation. But they are out of their daily lives and dropped into the great unknown.  As part of its latest global campaign ‘Voyage’, they are asking us to imagine this situation:

You are a highly social character, out-going and confident. You get chosen to go on a legendary adventure – something you have never done before – a new experience that will test your resourcefulness. But then you find yourself in the freezing wilderness of Alaska – alone on a glacier, with nothing but a giant life-ring, a tuxedo and a plane ticket to get you home – and the airport is hundreds of miles away.

To say that I would be lost – utterly and totally lost – would be an understatement.  I love hiking in the mountains, and I was excited last year to battle the tail end of a hurricane as I climbed down from one of New York State’s High Peaks.  But that was short work.  All I lost in the effort was my Blackberry (drowned in the downpour).  The biggest risk was getting blown off the summit, but easily enough solved by crouching low as we scrambled for the path down.

This ‘Voyage’ of Heineken®’s takes different men from across the world and drops them in remote areas far from home.  There is nothing to go to just a few hours down a mountain trail. And with nothing but the most basic of supplies and directions, they will be sorely tested.

The end result, which we can view from the comfort of our warm and cozy living rooms, is ‘Dropped’ – a series of episodic adventures following these brave or foolish explorers through their legendary travel experience.  To be frank, it is at the dropping part that I would be a gonner (you did watch the video above, right?)

‘Voyage’ is the fifth installment of premium beer brand Heineken®’s ‘Legends’ platform. Their integrated campaign can be found on a variety of platforms across broadcast, digital and mobile.  It will be pure entertainment, providing us with a truly immersive experience right at the Heineken® Dropped YouTube channel. You and I will be able to follow each ‘Dropped’ voyage, access documentary-style reports of their progress and thank our lucky starts that we are only watching it.  But if you feel ambitious – and this is really cool – you can contribute your own video entries to the ‘casting couch’ –  with the ultimate chance of partaking in your own legendary travel adventure.  If you do, I want to be the first to hear from you!

Dropped!Each ‘Dropped’ travel adventure is custom tailored based on the character of its main protagonist – forcing them to discover their own unique limits and conquer their own personal fears. Across four continents they’ll face a multitude of challenges – tough terrain, curious locals and unusual modes of transport. All these elements make for great entertainment, something that was perfected already in the early days of the James Bond movies.  (Sorry, no word on the street about any Bond girls – but I will update you if that changes.)

As the ‘Dropped’ episodes unfold, so the social experiment will come to life, with viewers of each voyage able to follow how each traveler fares through a series of diary entries and journey updates.

And their final destination is…?  Home sweet home.  Where they will surely put up their feet to watch it all play out on YouTube.  And where they will plan their next adventure…or lock themselves in the basement, safe from having to face such odds again.

Will they make it? We won’t have to wait long to find out.