Heineken: UEFA Champions League – No More Excuses

Using hyper-contextualised digital content to change consumer behaviour.

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UEFA Champions League is one of the most watched sporting events in the world and Heineken has been a main sponsor since 2005. But while everyone knows that football, friends and beer go together, 72% of fans choose to watch the games alone.


Our objective was behavioural: we had to get football fans to come together with friends to watch the match at home with a Heineken. Specifically, we wanted to get fans who would normally only watch one game with friends to watch three games with friends throughout the tournament.

Creative strategy

We knew digital was crucial to get the direct action we required. We began by conducting social listening and qualitative research to identify the barriers stopping people from enjoying the football at home with friends. The reasons for missing a match varied significantly across different markets. But we found that one truth was universal: whilst fans agreed that watching the match is better with friends, it was all too easy to find an excuse not to get together.

Our solution was a campaign that would replicate the personal motivation of a friend, helping fans sweep aside excuses and enjoy the game together. Our channel strategy was also based on this principle of personalisation: tailored and targeted videos that made fans feel like Heineken was motivating them directly, extended to one-to-one conversation on Facebook Messenger, the platform fans were already using to make plans.

Campaign execution

To first get football fans to take notice, we called on world famous coach José Mourinho, to issue a global rallying cry: ‘No More Excuses’, which aired in over 90 countries.
Next, leveraging audience social data, we joined the conversation and created targeted content that would react in real-time to fans’ context and barriers to watching the game with friends.
The central team shot over 100 variants which were distributed to local markets in three structured tiers, giving them flexibility with how sophisticated they wanted to be with the data targeting.
Throughout the knockout phase, local markets used the toolkit to create over 1,000 edits and deliver them programmatically as personalised, super-relevant response videos. Friends tagged on Facebook had Mourinho dismiss their lame excuses to their face, using real-time data e.g. if they had just arrived at a restaurant, if the weather was bad or even if they were still at work.
But motivating football fans wasn’t enough, we wanted to provide them with tools to make getting together with friends easier. So we launched a virtual version of Mourinho, a chatbot that let fans interact one-to-one with José and create witty, excuse-busting, shareable responses and social videos to send to their friends.


The campaign delivered 2.2 billion media impressions resulting in 256 million views, with over 35% of those who used the chatbot going on to set match reminders and invite friends to interact. The campaign won multiple awards including a Cannes Lion for best use of data.


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