Each brand in the Heineken family is given space at the annual National Distributors Conference to show distributors what their brand is about—getting an opportunity to wow the crowd with their plans and purpose for the upcoming year.
For 2015, Heineken asked Team Epiphany to step up and help them shine—tasking the agency to develop the concept, build out the space, and manage and staff the event.
This year, with their newly-minted MLS sponsorship, Heineken is all about soccer. For Heineken to win, distributors needed to be convinced that Americans are truly enthusiastic about the sport—and subsequently, this partnership.
Team Epiphany came up with an immersive experience intended to educate distributors unfamiliar with the sport that also allowed them to get hands-on and play the game. 3D models and renderings of the space brought the vision to life for the client prior to the actual activation—demonstrating how Heineken Light, Heineken’s Cities program, and the brand’s Bond sponsorship would all be incorporated with neon frames and displays throughout the space.
At the conference, the Heineken space’s premium white floors were an immediate point of differentiation from the other booths, which were all carpeted. The space was programmed with a professional space to kick goals, armed with an MLS goalie from the New York Red Bulls. Visitors were able to shoot against him, seeing how difficult it is to actually score. When a goal was completed, a slow-mo instant replay helped guests re-live the moment—complete with actors posing as fans to demonstrate that the heraldry of soccer is alive in America.
Additional features included two bars built into the space that allowed sampling of Heineken’s new BrewLock system, and a customizable jersey station where distributors could put their names in 3M on Bespoke Nike Soccer jerseys. The activation also included a virtual reality soccer fan experience that distributors could tune into via Occulus Rift headsets. The NDC’s resonating big moment was the unveiling of the authentic UCL trophy, carried in via a procession of soccer fans and white glove security. Once unveiled, distributors could pose for photos with it—making for a highly sharable moment.
Everything was loaded, built, and broken down within the course of just two days. The giant branded neon star that doubled as the entryway for Heineken’s booth, and the bars used in the activation, are now brand assets that will be used in Heineken activations all over the world—a lasting piece of Team Epiphany’s built-from-scratch victory that lives to see future Heineken wins.