Heineken honors unexpected hardcore fans

Thursday, February 8, 2024



Heineken® is launching its latest campaign as the UEFA knockout stages commence, furthering its ‘Fresher Football’ platform dedicated to fostering inclusivity within the sport.

Continuing its efforts to promote a positive and inviting atmosphere for football enthusiasts, the brand is determined to redefine the concept of hardcore fandom. It aims to shift the narrative away from the negative connotations often linked with extreme fan behavior, thus reshaping perceptions and reclaiming the title of devoted supporter as a badge of honor.

“There’s a minority of football fans that can spoil the game for everyone else, giving “hardcore” fans a bad name,” says Nabil Nasser, Global Head of Heineken® Brand: “But those problematic few don’t represent the majority. Our new campaign is a witty twist on the “hardcore fan” stereotype, showing instead what hardcore fandom really looks like, celebrating the diverse group of people who truly live and breathe the sport in a positive, and sometimes quirky way.”

Central to the campaign is a film crafted by Australian director Mark Molloy, capturing the essence of contemporary football fandom. This humorous and touching portrayal, inspired by real supporters, highlights the unwavering dedication people exhibit towards the sport they love.

Virgil van Dijk, captain of the Netherlands national men’s team, has teamed up with existing ambassador Jill Scott MBE, former Lioness, in this latest initiative by Heineken® to promote inclusivity in football.

“I used to go to The Stadium of Light with my granddad almost every weekend without fail, come rain or shine,” says Jill Scott MBE, “But when you think about what a hardcore football fan looks like, most people don’t picture a teenage girl. That’s what I love about Heineken®’s new campaign. It’s showing you what real football fans look like and playing on people’s expectations of who a real ‘hardcore’ fan is.”

Virgil van Dijk said; “The ‘Real Hardcore’ fans make me proud and appreciative as a player. I think reclaiming this phrase is important, the historic negative connotations are something we need to remove from the game, no one is born a racist, I think the key things to make change are education and communicating with each other. I hope we can be part of that change, that’s why I’m glad Heineken® is challenging the perception of what a real fan is to show there is a place for everyone in the game.”

To underscore the importance of promoting inclusive hardcore fandom, Heineken® is reserving seats at the UEFA Champions League Final for a handful of genuine hardcore fans who share their stories with us. These winners will receive an unforgettable final weekend experience, creating memories to last a lifetime.

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