How Heineken’s using the biggest ever non-alcoholic beer sponsorship to grow the category

Heineken recently announced a huge gear change in its alcohol marketing by entering into ‘the largest ever single sponsorship deal involving a non-alcoholic beer brand’, replacing Amstel as a Uefa Europa League sponsor. Hans Erik Tuijt, Heineken global sponsorship director, explains why.

Heineken has been a Uefa partner in one way or another since 1994. Now, it’s putting down around €10m ($11.7m) a year to associate its non-alcoholic Heinkenen 0.0 alternative with European football, according to SportBusiness. While Heineken remains a partner on the higher-tier Uefa Champions League sponsorship, its bets are now hedged on the growth of the 0% ABV sector.

Hans Erick Tuijt, Heineken’s global sponsorship director, has observed a surge of health and wellbeing trends accelerated by consumer reactions to coronavirus. This has helped drive a 40% sales growth in the 0.0 brand, year on year. Particularly in Russia and Europe. That growth helped to deliver some of the group’s best results in a decade.

“We’re confident that this category will keep gaining importance in these markets thanks to top innovation on taste,” he says.

His goal is to target the ‘Can’t-ers’ and ‘Don’t Want-ers’, parents, professionals and active people who can’t, or don’t want, to get drunk, but still enjoy the taste of beer.

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