Just last week, Heineken announced the release of its limited edition sneakers dubbed “Heinekicks”. A collaboration between the beer brand and well-known shoe designer Dominic Ciambrone, aka the Shoe Surgeon, “Heinekicks” not only embody Heineken's signature colors and unique branding — but include soles filled with actual Heineken Silver.
Beer for your sole— Heineken (@Heineken) August 2, 2022
Designed in collaboration with noted shoe designer, Dominic Ciambrone, to celebrate the smoothness of Heineken®️ Silver. Heinekicks aren't your everyday shoe, but it’s not every day you get to walk on beer. pic.twitter.com/LefwD5X7if
These wild and wacky shoes will drop in the fourth quarter in Singapore — with only 32 pairs having been created. However, only seven pairs of shoes will actually be available for purchase. But until they’re up for grabs, they’ll be on display in a Singapore shopping mall in the Limited Edition Vault at 313@Somerset — part of an exhibition organized by Cultural Cartel x Tomorrow Lapse called “Project Future”.
The goal of this visionary collaboration? To promote Heineken’s new beer, Heineken Silver, to a Gen Z audience. This new brew is lighter than the brand’s other beers, dubbed “an accessible & unique lager with a crisp and subtle finish” — and, according to AdAge, has been “specially formulated to appeal to Gen Z”, a group known for drinking less than their older counterparts.
And by tapping into another trend that Gen Z loves — fun, unique sneakers — Heineken is hoping to catch the attention of these young consumers by showing that it “gets” them. From the Heineken-green leather to the removable tongue that doubles as a bottle opener to the see-through soles filled with actual beer — the Heinekicks are truly buzz-worthy.
Interestingly, this isn’t the first campaign Heineken has rolled out for its new, lighter brew. Back in April when the beer was released, the brand launched a series of ads that played on the “Instagram vs Reality” trope — showing attractive, young consumers in typical Instagram-esque setups, only to be revealed that they’re just handing out with friends.
The ads’ goal was to appeal to a younger generation of consumers who are sick of the “fakeness” that many social media platforms perpetuate. By positioning Heineken Silver as an option for down-to-earth drinkers, this “playful campaign” extolled “the benefits of real life over digital connections”.
Comparatively, the “Heinekicks” don’t fit as neatly into the “down-to-earth” vibes — but seem to represent the brand’s multi-pronged approach to targeting the Gen Z consumer. If they aren’t reeled in by the “Instagram vs Reality” ads, perhaps they’ll be lured in via a wacky, (hopefully) viral, beer-filled sneaker.
And that wouldn’t be the first time Heineken has gone viral. Back in July 2021, the brand released a series of ads encouraging consumers to get vaccinated. While many people enjoyed the ads and appreciate the brand making its pro-vaccine stance known, others were upset that it took a side.
The hashtag #BoycottHeineken took off for a bit, but, ultimately, the campaign didn’t do irreparable damage to the brand itself.
Dubbed “Beer for your sole”, “Heinekicks” prove that the brand is ready to take a more experimental, artistic approach to marketing its latest brew — but only time will tell if it’s an effective strategy to win the hearts and wallets of Gen Z.