As part of its “Cities of the World” campaign, Heineken chronicles the rise, fall and current comeback of Bossa Nova music with an intimate look at Beco das Garrafas—the vibrant cultural epicenter of the Brazilian music movement.
Translated as “Bottles Alley,” Beco das Garrafas highlights a collection of legendary bars and nightclubs on Rio de Janeiro’s Duvivier Street that are experiencing a renaissance. In partnership with the Hands Agency, Heineken has been working to revitalize the area since 2014.
The documentary, directed by Brazilian filmmaker Paula Trabusi, captures a sense of nostalgia for a time gone by and as well as a powerful optimism for the future. It starts with interviews with locals who lived through the genre’s heyday in the 1950s and 1960s. Neighbors and patrons reminisce about the moment in time when Beco das Garrafas was launching the careers of music legends like Elis Regina, Wilson Simonal and Lennie Dale, and residents were throwing bottles out on the streets in protest of the loud music and riotous energy emanating from the bars—hence the name.
The film explains the downfall of Bossa Nova in 1970s due to drugs, revolution and disco. However, it ends on a hopeful note, introducing audiences to some of today’s top Bossa Nova talent, ready for their role in the Beco das Garrafas revival.
This short film focuses on the people, the place and the power of music. The Heineken brand is never front and center, but its distinctive green logo is occasionally seen in the soft blur of a background neon bar sign. Otherwise, the brand is relegated to the opening and closing credits as part of the branded entertainment project.
That choice is what makes this film a great example of content that connects with audiences in an authentic way. Daniela Cachich, vice president of marketing for Heineken Brasil, sees the power of putting audience over brand: “We can involve and engage the audience when we tell relevant stories and provide experiences that make sense to people. The narrative is not about the brand, but about the cultural legacy.”
The release of Beco das Garrafas in the broader context of Heineken’s local revitalization efforts and its “Cities of the World” campaign is an inspiring example of authentic and relevant branded content that intelligently plays its part supporting a brand’s story. Patricia Weiss, the film’s co-executive producer, clearly sees the bigger picture—she calls it a “meaningful intersection of Heineken’s brand purpose with what is relevant to people, because human stories are bigger than products and humanize brands.”
The film is also extremely timely—another key element of effective content. With the countdown to the 2016 Olympics under way, the world has its eyes on Rio. And the numbers are already starting to show it—the campaign has earned brand mentions in over 40 publications and generated over $6.3 million in earned media.
With the music of Beco das Garrafas back in full swing, we can only hope the bottles will continue to fly well into the future.
—Tori Miner is a New York-based verbal branding consultant with a penchant for scotch and Scrabble.