A “no thank-you I’m driving” commercial for Heineken beer

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International brewer Heineken has marked its $200 million Formula 1 sponsorship with what could be a world-first commercial. The star of the video is three-time Formula 1 champion and long-time road safety campaigner Sir Jackie Stewart and he’s shown repeatedly turning down offers of a free beer.

The 90 second spot was directed by Australian Gary Freedman from The Glue Society had its first public showing at last weekend’s Italian Grand Prix in Milan, urging race fans and motorists generally not to drink and drive.

‘When you drive, never drink’ was created by Publicis Italy and takes viewers on a re-creation of Jackie Stewart’s life (with some clever CGI) from the mid sixties through the seventies, in which he is seen winning races and enjoying the Formula 1 lifestyle, all the while courteously refusing bottles of Heineken.

In the final scene, Jackie Stewart – now 77 years old – is shown leaving a glamorous party. When a waiter offers him a Heineken, he again refuses, saying “I’m still driving”, with a nod to his sports car which has just pulled up outside by valet parking.

The soundtrack is a version of David Bowie’s “Heroes” by Postmodern Jukebox featuring Nicole Atkins.

Publicis Italy is the lead agency globally on Heineken. Its CEO and executive creative director, Bruno Bertelli, is also chief creative officer of Publicis Worldwide, and has worked on the Heineken business for 17 years.

The agency selected The Glue Society’s Gary Freedman to shoot the spot – following recent high profile projects for HSBC, IKEA and award winning projects for Doritos, Fosters and Money Supermarket in the UK.

The spot was filmed by Stephane Vallee with post production by the team at MPC, London.

Anuraag Trikha, Heineken’s global brand communications director, said of the sponsorship: “It’s a natural question to ask our point of view on drinking and driving. For Heineken, it’s an obligation and an opportunity to promote responsible behaviour, because people do want to listen to a brand like us. We are the only brewer to show people rejecting our own product.”

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