I know you don't really want to be reminded of the advertising travesty that was Pepsi's ad featuring Kendall Jenner saving the civil rights movement with carbonated soda. But this is the real world where alternatives do eventually appear from the ashes of despair.
Heineken has just released a pretty surprising new promo centered around uniting people with opposing views. A clear retaliation to Pepsi's commandeering of political movements, Heineken's ad encourages people to promote positive change by talking to each other over a beer.
As part of the company's #OpenYourWorld campaign, the “Worlds Apart” advert made by Agency Publicis London shows three pairs of people with polar opposite stances on a certain subject bonding over team-building tasks.
The only thing is, they don't know each other has a totally different political standpoint until after they've become mates.
The pairs of people, who disagree on issues like climate change, feminism, and transgender rights, view a pre-recorded video of each other giving statements about their beliefs.
A transgender woman is forced to view her new buddy explain why he doesn't get transgenderism, a feminist has to view her new pal claim that "feminism is man-hating" and a climate change activist hears the man now stood beside him recall why he doesn't think climate change is real. Each pair is then given the option to leave or talk it out over a beer.
Idealists and cynics might react totally different to this highly political Heineken advert. And they'd be right to.
In this increasingly disconnected and divided world, on the surface it seems Heineken's plug isn't self-centred and hopes to change the world for the better. While the clip is, of course, an advert aimed at bringing revenue to the company, it is a far cry away from usual beer ads that feature scantily-clad, model-like women drinking a "man's" drink.
The immediate reception to Heineken's advert has been vastly different to the backlash Pepsi received. The “Worlds Apart” clip has garnered a lot of praise for candidly showing some frank conversations between people with differing views.
Demonstrating that even those amongst us with polar opposite views can get along and have meaningful discussions – a notion that really does need to be promoted everywhere – some believe Heineken are onto something with the new ad.
Upworthy has labeled the campaign video "so brilliant" and "surprisingly great"; Fast Company has branded the clip an "antidote" to Kendall Jenner's Pepsi ad, and the Independent claim the commercial is an "anti-Pepsi advert".
But are we right to assume Heineken's production is the antithesis to an advert that was pulled one day after its release for adopting social issues in the name of selling a beverage?
We can see the message of the advert is well-meaning. And yet, the advert isn't without its problems. I do believe it means well, as much as an advertisement made by an ad agency in the ad world can – and isn't quite as blatantly ignorant as Pepsi's protest ad – people on Reddit have been pointing out what's inherently wrong with Heineken's advert, which still appropriates politics to sell shit. Just in a less transparent way to Pepsi's controversial output.
"The people in the ad are most certainly fake," Reddit user 'Inquilinus' wrote. "But the idea behind the situation isn't." Inquilinus points out how the advert is problematic for trans issues, given that having unsuspecting trans people "be confronted by those who hate their existence isn't 'clashing beliefs' or debate."
"Shame on Heineken for framing 'a trans person wanting to exist' vs a 'transphobe wanting them to not' as a valid debate or discussion," they wrote. "And that it would be okay to have a trans person confronted like this by a transphobe. Double shame for using trans people as props for a beer advertisement."
Others are wondering why corporations are continuing to co-opt serious political issues as marketing ploys. "Why can't we have a beer commercial that is just about the beer and not blatant politics?" Reddit user Le_Renard_Subtil asked.
One Reddit user also unveiled their irritation with putting "man-made climate change is a thing" and "man-made climate change is not a thing" on equal footing.
It's a conflicting discussion. But I think we're on board with takesteady12's take: