“World’s Apart,” Heineken’s new ad campaign involves some frank conversations between people with differing views. In contrast to Pepsi’s tone-deaf #Resist ad, it hits the nail on the head.

The world is split right now. Post-Trump America and post-Brexit UK are reeling from a division so deep it seems unbridgeable. People with opposing views believe in their own opinions so strongly, that they’re convinced everyone on the other side is; deluded, stupid, ignorant or flat out evil. Making matters worse, these people rarely come face-to-face, so the echo-chambers we live in are allowed to amplify our feelings without opposition.

In Heineken’s “Worlds Apart” experiment, complete strangers who have been selected for their political opinions, but not told what the experiment entails, are matched up and made to converse. A climate change denier meets face-to-face with an environmental doomsayer, a feminist with a men’s rights advocate and a transgender woman meets someone with anti-LGBT views.

The commercial highlights a well-tested psychology theory called “realistic conflict theory”. When people work together toward a common goal it results in them working through their problems with one another. Heineken brought two opposite people together with a few simple tasks.

The above video from CGP Grey came to mind when I first saw the Heineken ad, in the video he discusses how most controversial beliefs rarely change because they only get discussed in two situations:

  1. within our own little spheres of like-minded people
  2. with the opposing viewpoints, but with our guard up

This is what happens when we know each other before we know our opinions.

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