Our approach

Our goal is to foster a safe and socially responsible drinking culture in New Zealand, and we believe alcohol, when consumed in moderation, can be part of a well-balanced lifestyle. We recognise the risk that alcohol poses when not consumed responsibly, and believe that for some people and occasions, it’s better not to drink at all. Alcohol-related harm is still present across our entire society, and there is more work to do to reduce the negative impacts of alcohol and embed a culture of moderation in New Zealand.

Our approach to ensuring consumers drink responsibly is implemented through four key focus areas embedded in our business: our marketing, sponsorships, partnerships and behaviour change programmes. We have a robust responsible marketing code that provides clear standards for all of our commercial and marketing communications. We continue to lead the market in producing low-and-no alcohol beers and ciders, providing choice to consumers who choose not to drink alcohol but still enjoy the taste of an alcoholic drink.

Our progress and performance

Promoting a safe and social drinking culture through our brands 

In 2020, Heineken set out to run fewer, but larger campaigns throughout the year. The most significant of these focused-on Enjoy Heineken Responsibly. The Heineken Unsell was launched, encouraging people not to drink Heineken when driving.

The aim of this campaign was to provide a simple message to consumers about safe consumption while driving – that is, don’t drink and drive. Drink driving laws in New Zealand can be confusing to consumers, so the safest stance is zero tolerance. Heineken’s approach was to be blunt and clear – don’t drink Heineken full stop if you’re driving.

A large campaign launch in December involved a takeover of numerous billboards in prominent locations, as well as an external full-page wrap on the New Zealand Herald, and branding on popular websites Metservice and TradeMe. The message was furthered with activations in 200 Heineken bars around the country. Signage was placed in carparks, bathrooms, and at the point of sale in on-premise locations. Heineken 0.0 was also offered to sober drivers for free to support this message with a practical alternative.

This campaign was the latest stage of a wider Heineken strategy around reducing drinking and driving. In addition to the communication campaign, we have been working in conjunction with a team at Krukow Behavioural Design, working with DB to develop a ‘nudge theory study’ which began in December 2020 and is continuing into 2021. The research will follow the journey of a New Zealand drink-driver and ascertain what sorts of nudges and interventions could stop similar people drinking and driving.

Building partnerships 

In 2020, DB launched the latest phase of its drink driving reduction partnership – Keys Down, Real Talk (KDRT). KDRT is an award-winning campaign that uses authentic storytelling and music to change people’s behaviours and attitudes when it comes to drink driving. It was developed by DB in partnership with 37Hz, a local community creative producer, with the goal of tackling drink driving in DB’s largest backyard, South Auckland. DB approached the issue of drink driving through a campaign that draws on the phrase ‘real talk’, a slang term for serious conversation. The campaign is now in its third year and has reached over 500,000 Kiwis with its impactful messages.

In 2020, we created three immersive short videos, splicing together real-life quotes about drink driving from influential members of the community, with stylized visuals and music to communicate the key message that ‘alcohol and driving never mix’.

Taking action at an industry level

During 2020 DB became increasingly concerned and outspoken at worker exploitation in liquor stores. After going public with our stance that operators who exploit their workers should lose their liquor license, we were subsequently invited to speak at the Tango i Te Kaupae Muri conference at Parliament in 2021. We continue to advocate for stripping operators of their licenses for such breaches and will continue to work with our partners to remove this issue from the industry.

Innovating in low-and-no-alcohol beverages

Consumers are signaling the move towards low and no alcohol beverages, with sales of no alcohol beers doubling in 2020.

DB continues to lead in 0.0% ABV beer, with our three offerings making up over three-quarters of the overall category value. February 2020 saw the launch of our new DB Export Gold 0.0 product, supporting our existing premium Heineken 0.0 option and DB Export Citrus 0%. After a successful trial in 2019, we rolled out Zero Zones across some Countdown supermarkets, helping to drive sales across the whole category by making it more convenient to find 0% beverages. Zero Zones stock a range of beers, wines, and spirits with less than 0.05% ABV, providing better visibility of the whole category.

Responsible marketing and product labelling

DB is committed to complying with all applicable marketing communication laws, regulations and voluntary codes. We continue to maintain our record of very low advertising complaints, with no complaints upheld against us in 2020.

We continue to publish nutritional and ingredient information for our products either on pack or on our corporate website.

We have also started the process of adding the newly required larger pregnancy warning labelling on our products. These will be rolled out over the next few years, in advance of the Government-mandated date. We maintained our record of very low advertising complaints with no complaints upheld against us in 2020.

2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015
Complaints made to the ASA 5 2 4 4 5 5
Referrals to ASA complaints board 4 2 2 1 1 4
Complaints upheld 0 0 0 0 0 0
Warnings, fines or penalties for non-compliance 0 0 0 0 0 0