Our beers and ciders are enjoyed in moderation around New Zealand and internationally. But there are clear risks when alcohol is not consumed responsibly and, for some people and on some occasions, it’s better not to drink at all. Our ambition is to make responsible drinking aspirational and to foster a safe and social drinking culture in New Zealand. For DB, this means drinking in moderation, at the right time, in the right place and for the right reasons.

Our approach

Our approach is implemented through four focus areas:

  • Building partnerships
  • Promoting a safe and social drinking culture through our brands
  • Taking action at an industry level
  • Innovating in low and no alcohol products

We also take the marketing of our products very seriously, from point of sale materials to event sponsorships, social media and much more. As such, we’re committed to meeting and in some cases exceeding the expectations set out in applicable marketing communication laws, regulations and voluntary codes.

Building partnerships

We believe that complex social issues like alcohol misuse and the associated harm are best addressed together with a wide range of stakeholders. This is why we have forged a number of partnerships over the years to help advocate for real change. Over the past two years, we have focused our partnership work on reducing drink driving, which remains a prevalent issue in New Zealand. At DB, we believe that no level of alcohol is safe when you’re behind the wheel.

In 2018, we teamed up with 37Hz, an award-winning producer based in South Auckland, to create Keys Down, Real Talk. Keys Down is a grassroots campaign featuring real life stories from our community about drink driving. Read our case study to learn more. We also partnered with hospitality customers in Auckland and Christchurch to trial a drink driving behavioural change programme in the bar environment. Read more here. Both partnerships resulted in some interesting outcomes and learnings, which we will use to inform our long term drink driving reduction work.

Promoting a safe and social drinking culture through our brands

In 2018, we ran a TV and digital campaign featuring F1 driver Nico Rosberg, whose message, ‘Just one beer is too many’ when you’re driving, complemented the partnership work that we delivered in this area. The campaign reached over 1.6 million people.

We continued to keep consumers informed through transparent product labelling, including voluntary nutritional information labelling on all of our main beer brands, and providing ingredient information for our top-selling beers and ciders.

Taking action at an industry level

We are an active member of industry-led initiative Cheers!, which supports Kiwis to make better choices about drinking. During 2018, Cheers!, in partnership with DB and other producers, ran a multi-media campaign about the risks of drinking while pregnant. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder affects around 3,000 babies each year in New Zealand and the campaign sent a strong message to pregnant women that alcohol and pregnancy don’t mix. The campaign’s YouTube video was viewed by over 60,000 people and traffic to the Cheers! Safer Pregnancy website increased by 500% as a result of the campaign.

Innovating in low and no alcohol products

Consumer trends in health, wellbeing and moderation continue to grow and the development of low and no alcohol products is a key part of our business. In 2018, we offered 10 brewed products and ciders* with less than 3.5% alcohol by volume, excluding soft drinks. The launch of Heineken 0.0 in August 2018 was an exciting development for the business and category as a whole. It has shown New Zealanders that non-alcoholic** beer can taste great and is helping to foster a safe and social drinking culture. A significant portion of the Heineken media budget was spent on a multi-channel launch and the consumer response has exceeded expectations. Low and no-alcohol beers continue to drive growth ahead of the overall category and we will keep innovating in this area.

* Amstel Light (2.5%); DB Export Citrus 0.0% (less than 0.05% ABV); DB Export Citrus (2% ABV); DB Export Citrus Grapefruit (2% ABV); DB Export Citrus Lime and Ginger (2% ABV); Heineken 0.0% (less than 0.05% ABV); Heineken Light (2.5% ABV); Monteith’s Mid-Strength Beer (3.0% ABV); Monteith’s Mid-Strength Apple Cider (2.8% ABV); Tuatara Iti APA (3.3% ABV)

** Less than 0.05% ABV from the natural brewing process

Our key targets and performance

In 2018, we spent 10% of our Heineken media budget on TV commercials featuring our anti-drink driving messaging and ran two partnerships focused on reducing drink driving. Our no-alcohol portfolio grew to include Heineken 0.0.

Key measures 2020 target 2018 2017 2016 2015
10% of Heineken® media budget invested in responsible consumption campaigns 10% 10% 11% 6.20% n/a
Partnership addressing alcohol-related harm Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
At least one no-alcohol brewed product** in portfolio Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

** Less than 0.05% ABV from the natural brewing process

Responsible alcohol marketing

Despite our best efforts, four complaints were made to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about marketing materials produced by or on behalf of DB in 2018. Of those initial complaints, two were dismissed and two were referred to the ASA’s complaints board, where they were not upheld.

Key measures 2018 2017 2016 2015
Complaints made to the ASA 4 4 5 5
Referrals to ASA complaints board 2 1 1 4
Complaints upheld 0 0 0 0
Warnings, fines or penalties for non-compliance 0 0 0 0

Looking ahead

We will continue to champion a safe and social drinking culture through our people, our partnerships and portfolio, and educate consumers that when they’re driving, they shouldn’t be drinking. We will also work with our retail customers to boost the visibility of low and no alcohol products in-store and continue to grow the low and no category as a whole.

Case study: Keys Down, Real Talk: tackling drink driving at a grassroots level


Our head office and largest brewery is based in South Auckland, a region of New Zealand with the second-highest number of drink driving fatalities in the country. The culture in this community has historically been that drinking and driving is a ‘badge of honour’. In order to tackle this issue, DB partnered with award-winning local creative producers, 37Hz, to develop a unique and impactful drink driving reduction campaign called Keys Down, Real Talk. The phrase ‘real talk’ is a colloquial term in the community for serious conversation.

Read more

Case study: DB pilot study reveals insights into Kiwis’ drink driving behaviours


In 2018, DB piloted a globally designed behavioural change programme with five hospitality partners across Auckland and Christchurch. The experiment involved placing a series of interventions or 'nudges' in the bar environment with the aim of helping drivers to stay alcohol-free. These included digital and print signage, branded t-shirts, bar mats and key rings, specials for drivers that sign a pledge to stay alcohol-free, and high visibility of drink options such as Heineken 0.0. Our goal was to understand if we could positively influence the decision-making process of drivers at the point of purchase.

Read more