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Could the social problems of the world be resolved over a drink?
Maybe not, but a new Heineken commercial suggests that a good cold beer might help bridge divides between people with polar opposite views on some of the most controversial issues.
In a powerful new ad, titled “Worlds Apart” and filmed in the U.K., the Dutch brewer stages a social experiment by pairing three sets of strangers who have conflicting views on feminism, climate change and transgender rights.
Neither knows about those differences when placed in a warehouse with a set of instructions. The two must then work together to collaborate on a task: assembling a bar and a set of stools.
The pairs then participate in a question-and-answer session, learning some rather intimate details about each other. One person, for examples, reveals he knows what it’s like to be homeless and “have absolutely nothing.”
The pairs are then asked to stand and watch a short video, where they learn for the first time each other’s political beliefs. It is when the man who describes transgender as “very odd” learns the person he has been working with is a transgender woman.
The participants are then given a choice.
"You may go, or you can stay and discuss your differences over a beer,” a voice over an intercom announces.
Heineken confirmed to TODAY that the ad, which runs just under four minutes and 30 seconds, is “a real-life social experiment that features real people. We were very deliberate in casting real people with their own views in our film.”
The company said it wanted to know if someone like a feminist and anti-feminist could bond if they were unaware of those self-imposed labels.
"Sounds improbable but the result was pretty life-affirming," said Cindy Tervoort, Heineken's marketing director. "Finding common ground with each other does bring down the preconceived barriers we put up and make us more open."
Heineken said the ad, which is only running online, is the latest iteration of its "Open Your World" campaign, and that the timing of its release has nothing to do with the controversial soda commercial that PepsiCo yanked earlier this month.
That "protest" ad, which featured Kendall Jenner, sparked outrage with Pepsi being accused of trying to make light of current social resistance movements.
Heineken said it has tested the behavior shown in its ad through scientific research at Goldsmiths, University of London.
"If it is overly simplistic to believe this, then maybe that is what we need more of — simple things everyone can do to make a change," Tervoort said.