Heineken taps into FOMO to promote responsible drinking

Convincing consumers to drink responsibly is no small task. Local authorities often create public service initiatives that confront drinkers with the potentially brutal consequences of over-indulging. The New York City Health Department, for example, is running an ad campaign that shows excessive drinking leading to violence and even hospitalization. And a controversial campaign from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board played up the link between alcohol abuse and rape. While these are designed to provoke guilt and shame among the target audience, one study has questioned the efficacy of this strategy.

By contrast, Heineken’s recently launched “Sunrise” campaign works to inspire a different anxiety: tapping into FOMO, or the fear of missing out. An 85-second video shows a man drinking responsibly at an epic Heineken-sponsored party; while some partyers appear to become incapacitated, this man eventually walks out to enjoy the sunrise with a sexy woman on his arm (celebrity DJ Audrey Napoleon). The tagline: “Sunrise belongs to moderate drinkers.” A social media component asks all-night partyers to “Tweet your sunrise and celebrate with the world.”

Here, drinking too much means missing out on the best parts of a great night out. It’s a more subtle approach that spotlights the upside of curbing one’s intake: While a few beers can help fuel the fun times, any more than that and you risk dropping out of the festivities too soon.

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