Marketing Report
Heineken launches campaign to help make football more inclusive news

Heineken launches campaign to help make football more inclusive

Heineken has launched “Cheers To The Real Hardcore Fans”, a campaign that subverts expectations and redefines what it means to be a “real hardcore fan” in an effort to tackle the negative hardcore fan stereotypes to help make football more inclusive.

Heineken teams up with new ambassador, Dutch team captain Virgil van Dijk alongside former Lioness Jill Scott MBE, to celebrate the modern face of football fandom. To announce their ambassador roles Jill and Virgil took part in a challenge to spot the ‘real hardcore fans’

The campaign kicks off with a global competition to find the world’s most dedicated “real hardcore” football fans, with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend the UEFA Champions League Final up for grabs.

Nabil Nasser, Global Head, Heineken Brand: “There’s a minority of football fans that can spoil the game for everyone else, giving “hardcore” fans a bad name, but those problematic few don’t represent the majority. Our new campaign is a witty twist on the “hardcore fan” stereotype, showing instead what hardcore fandom really looks like, celebrating the diverse group of people who truly live and breathe the sport in a positive, and sometimes quirky way.”

Heineken is kicking off the UEFA knockout stages with its new campaign building on the established ‘Fresher Football’ platform that aims to make football more inclusive.

The brand has been working to level the playing field by campaigning to make the sport a more positive and welcoming space to enjoy football together. This new campaign has set its sights on refreshing what it really means to be a hardcore fan, reclaiming this badge of honour that has for too long been associated with negative behaviour in football.

Jill Scott MBE: “I used to go to The Stadium of Light with my granddad almost every weekend without fail, come rain or shine. But when you think about what a hardcore football fan looks like, most people don’t picture a teenage girl. That’s what I love about Heineken®’s new campaign. It’s showing you what real football fans look like and playing on people’s expectations of who a real ‘hardcore’ fan is.”

At the heart of the campaign is a film created by Australian director Mark Molloy. It represents the true face of modern football fandom. The comedic and heartwarming film, inspired by real fans, shows the devotion people have to supporting the beautiful game.

Virgil van Dijk captain of the Netherlands national men’s team alongside existing ambassador Jill Scott MBE, former Lioness have joined forces on this next chapter in Heineken®’s drive for inclusivity in football.

Virgil van Dijk, captain, Netherlands national men’s team: “The ‘Real Hardcore’ fans make me proud and appreciative as a player. I think this reclaiming this phrase is important, the historic negative connotations are something we need to remove from the game, no one is born a racist, I think the key things to make change are education and communicating with each other. I hope we can be part of that change, that’s why I’m glad Heineken® is challenging the perception of what a real fan is to show there is a place for everyone in the game.”

To emphasise the message of supporting inclusive hardcore fandom, Heineken® has set aside seats at the UEFA Champions League Final for a select few real hardcore fans that share their stories with us. The winners will be provided with a once-in-a-lifetime final weekend experience.