Héééééééééé biertje is back!

Ingrid Nieuwenhuis

Ingrid Nieuwenhuis

Head of Science

If you’ve lived in the Netherlands long enough, it’s likely that you’ve encountered a Dutch person entering a party exclaiming “Héééééééééé Biertje?!” accompanied with a wide arm gesture and a smug grin. This expression, which means as much as “Heeeeey, who wants a beer?!”, stems from a legendary Heineken ad from 2002 from TBWA\NEBOKO. In this ad, a dull goatherder named Rudi transforms into the King of Après-ski at the fall of the first snowflakes.

And after more than 18 years, Rudi is back! Celebrating the reopening of sidewalk cafes, Heineken comes with a sequel made by Boomerang Agency which is already going viral in anticipation of the big day.

When I first saw the new Rudi ad, I was a little confused; I could have sworn the old Rudi ad was for the beer brand Bavaria. And looking back critically, the old 40-second Rudi ad, though brilliant and iconic, wasn’t well branded at all. The first 15 seconds are used to show Rudi, herding his goats in wide Alpine landscapes. Second 15 to 25 show Rudi’s transformation. Second 25 to 35 are the build up to the “Héééééééééé Biertje?!” line. Only starting at second 35, we see a bar with a blurry Heineken sign in the background, with at second 39 the Heineken end card.

When quantifying attention on the branding using expoze.io’s areas of interest functionality, we see they together grab less than 5% off all attention in that scene. My guess is that due to memory associations between Alpine landscapes and the german state of Bavaria, in combination with the lack of sufficient Heineken branding cues, my brain created the false memory that the ad was for Bavaria beer. 


The new Rudi ad, in contrast, is skillfully branded from start to finish; subtly but effectively. For instance, it opens with a shot of a tray of Heineken beer in the news scene at second 2. Rudi, who apparently lives in the Netherlands now, washes down his wienerschnitzel with Heineken 0%. And then my favorite: the font used for text overlays is the font from the Heineken logo including the smiling e, connecting Héééééééééé to Heineken.

Is there then nothing that could be improved? Of course there is! First, we see that the Heineken can in the scene at second 3 only grabs 4.3% of attention. This is relatively low. Is there a way to increase this, without taking attention away from the essential story elements? When playing with the color of the table, and running the iterations through expoze.io, I discovered that making the color of the table brighter guides attention towards the can. Looking carefully at the heat maps generated with expoze.io, I noticed that some attention is leaking away to the chair and couch behind Rudi; a tighter crop without those non-essential elements should also help. With these two adjustments I increased attention to the product to 6.7%.

The second scene I focussed on is the opening scene. Given the large share of video ads that are seen on digital media, where people can click away ads after mere seconds, optimal branding in the first few seconds is essential. Looking carefully at the expoze.io heat map of the opening scene, I noticed that the logo in the upper left corner of the TV that is playing in Rudi’s house is stealing away some attention from the branded tray. Running a version through expoze.io in which I had removed the logo, revealed this indeed increases attention to the branded elements from 22.5% to 25.9%.

These are just some examples of how you can use expoze.io, our AI powered eye-tracking platform. It allows you to analyse images and videos with amazing accuracy in a matter of seconds, predicting which elements in your design draw attention, without needing participants for your study. Want to learn more? Check out our website, pricing or book a meeting with one of our specialists. You can also follow us on your favorite social channel to stay in the know about news and new releases.


And if you are enjoying a beer on one of the Netherlands’ re-opened terraces one of these days, and hear “Héééééééééé biertje?!” echoing through the street, you now know why.

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