News & Views

Heineken Sub

by Contagious I/O

This story originally appeared on Contagious I/O, our bespoke research platform featuring the world’s most creative, ingenious and effective brand-funded ideas.

Heineken launches beer appliance inspired by coffee brand

Heineken has launched a draft beer machine for the home in collaboration with renowned industrial designer Marc Newson and kitchen appliance manufacturer Krups.

The brand hopes its Heineken Sub appliance will revolutionise the home beer drinking experience in the same way that Nespresso's high-design machines reimagined the home coffee drinking experience.

The Sub machines, which will be sold in Italy and France next year, were unveiled at a launch event in Paris this week, which Contagious attended. The appliance works with replaceable two-litre kegs of beer (called Torps) that can be stored in the fridge for up to 15 days until they are ready to use.

The Sub will retail at 249 Euro ($340), while the refills will cost between six and eight Euro ($8 to $11). The Heineken Company will sell refills of other beer brands from its portfolio including Desperados and Affligem, as well as seasonal brews. People will be able to purchase the Torps from local stores, as well as Heineken's first ecommerce platform. This online store will also sell beer accessories designed by Newson, including glasses and coasters.

François-Xavier Mahot, senior director of global innovation at Heineken, said, 'The urban, at-home market is one of the fastest growing beer segments. Consumers want to create the high-end experience that they associate with the Heineken brand at home, from the appliance through to the pour of a perfect draught beer. And they also want the convenience of trying a variety of beers. The Sub is an innovation that delivers this and more.' Heineken will launch The Sub in each market with outdoor, print and PR activity, as well as an online video that could be aired on TV.

Contagious Insight

The Sub is targeting urban, gadget-obsessed men over the age of 35 with its focus on design. Unlike simply cracking open a can of beer on the sofa, The Sub turns drinking a Heineken into a premium experience meant to be shared with friends. As Heineken's Mahot said: 'If you go to the bar, is it acceptable if a waiter gives you a can? That's not ok, it's not sophisticated.' Instead, Heineken has placed an emphasis on how to drink its beer properly, explaining the important of the perfect pour on The Sub's microsite and invited people to start 'a new ritual'.

The Sub is part of Heineken's strategy to achieve 6% of its sales each year from new products. While Heineken has sold home kegs before, it introduced its BeerTender (also made with Krups) in 2004, these have featured five litres of beer not two. The Sub is far more convenient as the Torps have been designed to fit in the fridge. But more importantly, the partnership with Newson, one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World, turns this Heineken appliance into a luxury, aspirational item, much like the Nespresso machine. And again this focus on design comes through in Heineken's decision to launch The Sub first in Paris and Milan, the design capitals of Europe, inhabited by stylish folk who have a great deal of say in the fashionable products the rest of world crave.

Heineken has made no secret that it was inspired by Nestle's coffee brand. Mahot told Marketing Week: 'If you look at what Nespresso is offering customers, it's a variety of coffees you can enjoy at home that is even bigger than what is on offer in any café of restaurant. When you have guests over it can be something that is the centre of a social occasion, where discussions about the product and the heritage of our brands can take place.' The Sub is meant to impress friends. As Newson said: 'This isn't a product you want to put in a cupboard and hide away like a vacuum cleaner.' Moreover, the seasonal varieties help position the appliance as the perfect gadget for holiday parties and social gatherings.

This story originally appeared on Contagious I/O. Contagious I/O is our bespoke trends, inspiration, insight and analysis service, providing daily innovative marketing intelligence across a comprehensive range of sectors to brands and agencies across the world. For more information about Contagious I/O, contact: