Is Every Man Really Legendary? Heineken’s “Odyssey” (and Its Aftermath)

The latest global ad campaign series from Heineken is “The Odyssey,” a viral ad with a premise that is designed to boost viewers’ confidence. Part of the “Legends” platform, Heineken’s ad follows the adventures of a series of ordinary (non-actor) men aboard a cruise ship who begin to exhibit extraordinary skills, including conga dancing, diving, and more. Interestingly enough, faced with criticisms questioning Heineken’s authenticity, the company responded with another video that soon went viral.

The Odyssey Video: An Overview

For several years, the company has run the Open Your World campaign, which has introduced impressive talent. The Odyssey is a way of acknowledging that the individuals who have been presented throughout the campaign may seem like one-in-a-million geniuses of their arts, but that they are not very different from others – each of whom is good at something.

Throughout the video, the protagonist illustrates talent doing several different things, such as those mentioned above. It soon becomes apparent that this man is actually a different person from scene to scene. The point of this procession is to suggest that everyone is good at something. To take this theme a step further, the video communicates that, with enough commitment and drive, everyone can excel at his or her particular talent.

Although the message is a powerful one, the video itself encountered an abundance of criticism. The primary complaint was that the talents exhibited in it are not authentic. Either the men in the video really are actors, or they are not truly skilled.

The Response

Heineken’s poignant comeback to its skeptical viewers is further proof that real, ordinary people are indeed talented in their own unique and creative ways. The company revealed its casting videos, which are compiled neatly for the viewers as Heineken’s PR representative offers an explanation.

Clips from the response video include the names and professions of the participants and demonstrations of their particular abilities. At times, the content is nothing short of impressive. At others, it is obviously snarky. The world’s most talented “woman thrower,” for instance, cannot possibly throw someone far enough into the air that she remains up there for approximately 5 seconds. And although the bird caller is obviously skilled in his art, it is unlikely that a swarm of fowl made its way into the studio in response to his squawking.

The company has also added an interactive component to its media, which allows users to investigate different facets of the casting, hiring, and filming for the video.

In short, it is clear that each of these men have legitimate talents that were complemented with humor and perhaps some exaggeration in the Odyssey video. It is also clear that, despite the embellishments, the participating protagonists are genuine.

Do you think Heineken’s response is powerful enough to be believable, or evidence of a “guilty conscience?”

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