Seeking Leaders for Global Change

Sitting down with a drink to discuss your differences

Written by Emily Davila

It’s easy to surround ourselves with people who think just like us. Depending on our social media bubbles, we might not even know anyone who voted for the other candidate, or takes an opposing view. But by not engaging with people who think differently, we don’t make the world better, we just make it more divided. And division weakens our society further.

That is why I am inspired by this recent Heineken campaign. Their social experiment is brilliant: first people have to build some furniture. Then they share personal information.  Only after this cooperation and bonding do they find out they have fundamentally opposing views on subjects such as feminism, transgender rights, and climate change. The campaign is softly making the point that talking about divisions, without first forging common ground, is a road to failure.

This Heineken ad is a stark contrast to the recent one from Pepsi, where the model Kendell Jenner crosses the picket line at a staged demonstration to offer a police officer a Pepsi. The blowback was immediate: people felt like the company was using movements such as Black Lives Matter for commercial gain. Pepsi apologized and pulled the ad.

In contrast, Heineken’s spot is more than a commercial, it’s a campaign with a clear message that, “being open lets us get more out of life.” Its also in partnership with the nonprofit Human Library that will lead a series of events across the UK.As the world gets more complicated, brands and companies will be as much a part of the solutions we build together as NGOs and governments. But we certainly have more work to do to form real connections across our differences. I am just surprised that it should be Heineken that teaches us that lesson.

Emily Davila, Head of Research