Nudging for Good » Case Studies » Awards Finalists 2019 » Heineken – When You Drive, Never Drink

Heineken – When You Drive, Never Drink


1. What is the observed insight?

Drink-driving is a social phenomenon that’s impacted by the influence of culture and society, the moment, one’s self and the legal environment. Despite these factors having different levels of significance in every country, research revealed that there is one shared drink-driver journey and that behaviour change starts in the place of decision making – the bar.

Global research that looked into the behaviours and habits of drivers uncovered that although 79% of people have good intentions before a night out, as the evening unfolds these good intentions fail. Also, social pressures take over at the point of decision making, with 49% of drink drivers getting caught up in having fun, 27% of drink drivers say that when they are having a good time with their friends, sometimes they just choose to forget they are driving, and 1 in 4 drink drivers find it acceptable to drink drive after succumbing to social pressures.


2. The Nudge

More than just warning people about the dangers of drink-driving, Heineken® set out to tangibly reduce drink-driving behaviour and create a programme that served as proof-of-concept for the brand’s local markets to implement.

Based on the research insights and understanding of the barriers that prevent people from adopting the desired behaviour, Heineken® and Innovia Technology designed a behavioural-change programme to change the psychology of drink drivers from the moment they enter the bar. To do this, they redesigned a bar environment with a collection of nudges that were tested in a pilot study in 10 UK bars over a two-week period. These included:

  • Signage encouraging drivers to stay alcohol-free
  • Making alcohol-free drinks prominent; communicating and increasing availability of alcohol-free offers and driver’s menus
  • Rewarding positive behaviour through driver incentives and bar staff support
  • Prompting people to make the right decision; reminders throughout the car park and bar through signage and POS material


3. Evidence path

The pilot programme in the UK reduced drink-driving by up to 50% in bars with the highest level of support, followed by social experiments in Brazil and New Zealand that achieved 25% and 7% reduction respectively. Learnings included: peer support matters, public commitment is an impactful tool and alcohol-free options have a positive impact.