In part because overt demonstrations of affection on social media are more often the purview of women, beer brand Heineken is challenging Millennial men "to step outside their comfort zone and display their mushy, romantic side on social media" in its latest social experiment, #DateInABox.
According to Heineken, a #DateInABox is a glittery red box "with an adventurous, prearranged mystery date locked inside, ranging from an improv class to a jujitsu lesson for two or couples' tattoos."
The campaign works in two phases.
First, women had to tweet @Heineken_US to let the brand know they were interested in a #DateInABox for their significant other. Twenty-five boxes were up for grabs for the first respondents' special someones.
In the second phase, Heineken has mailed boxes to those 25 significant others with intended delivery on Valentine's Day. In order to retrieve the date locked inside, these guys must get a code from Heineken by posting a picture of the box on Instagram "to show everybody what your girlfriend gave you for Valentine's Day," says Heineken brand director Belen Pamukoff.
Once Heineken sees photographic evidence on Instagram, it will send a code to unlock the box.
"The dates we have are things that are outside your comfort zone," Pamukoff says. "This is not a regular dinner. This is not a regular movie. You could go to a trapeze class or go and have dinner in the dark."
As of February 13, a day before the men were slated to receive their boxes, 62 posts on Instagram were tagged with #DateInABox.
"For Heineken, everything we do in social and digital, we want to communicate our brand belief, which is that what we call our target, the Men of the World, go beyond their borders and go outside [their comfort zones]," Pamukoff says. "The way he gathers experiences, he'll be a better individual when he gets all these experiences outside his comfort zone."
Therefore, when looking at Valentine's Day for these Millennial men ages 21 to 30, Heineken approached it with the insight that they don't typically talk about Valentine's Day much, so #DateInABox could push them out of their comfort zones on February 14, she explains.
The brand says the news was released via @Heineken_US and PR efforts on February 6.
A YouTube video about the initiative has 18,000 views as of February 14.
Heineken has also been posting poems to Facebook and Twitter, like, "On #ValentinesDay, There's one thing she'll need - To see something special Stand out in your feed," and, "The ladies have fun Making guys display Their sensitive sides This #ValentinesDay."
@Heineken_US has 34,000 followers on Twitter, 16.8 million Likes on Facebook, and 5,700 followers on Instagram.
Previous go-beyond-your-limits campaigns from Heineken include Travel Roulette, in which airport passengers were challenged to change their travel plans at a moment's notice.
"The question here will be, when the guy receives the box, will he be willing to take a picture and post it on Instagram? If he doesn't do it, he won't get the date," Pamukoff says. "The choice is always with the consumer. We give them opportunities. We say, 'Here is an opportunity to do something different on Valentine's Day,' and they decide."
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Lisa Lacy is senior staff writer at ClickZ. In addition to ClickZ, her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Luxury Spot, LearnVest, MarthaStewart.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, amNewYork, and The Wall Street Journal. She's a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism.
March 19, 2014