Beer brand Heineken has found itself the subject of sustained backlash on Twitter as it becomes an inadvertent lightning rod for anti-vaxxers.
The Dutch brewer precipitated the controversy after sticking its neck out to strike a staunchly pro-vaccination stance for its latest advertising campaign ‘The Night Belongs to the Vaccinated’, in which seniors are depicted partying like it’s 2019.
— Heineken (@Heineken) July 8, 2021
With this bold move, Heineken has become one of the first brands to openly position itself in the pro-vaccination camp, giving its brand a shot in the arm while risking the ire of vocal critics of the health program – who duly amassed on social media to vent their fury.
With #BoycottHeineken trending on Twitter, sparking alternating waves of anger or bemusement depending on your leanings, onlookers were quick to point out that Heineken is the owner of no less than 170 different beer brands, presenting a significant quandary for anyone ordering a round at the bar.
As part of its #FreshBeginnings campaign instigated in Ireland last month where 3,500 pubs have now reopened, Heineken is keen to encourage people armed with their double dose to socialize freely once more.
This sparked complaints from some that it was not the place of a beer brand to promote public health.
I thought Heineken was a drinks company advertising Heineken beer, not vaccines? Very strange. Better start drinking a different brand.......
— SamOll (@ShellDixOak) July 8, 2021
Among those entering the fray were some calling with a tongue firmly planted in cheek for those outraged by the vaccine stance to buy up crates of Heineken to pour it down the drain.
Everyone who's mad about this should go buy a case of Heineken, and share videos of them dumping it down the drain. That'll show them!
— SILLY SZN (@KyleTheRacinFan) July 8, 2021
The rise of a vocal minority spreading fear and misinformation online has challenged the ability of governments and social media giants to enforce order without being painted as part of some grand conspiracy themselves. This has seen Facebook enforce an outright ban on anti-vaxxer adverts – but not related content.