Dr Mumbo

Behind the red star

Dr Mumbo did wonder if it was a good idea for a brand, in the teaser phase of a campaign that has unfolded in recent weeks, to slap red stars all over Singapore without an explanation.

Behind the star

After all, this is a country where a certain political movement that uses the red star as its symbol wasn’t especially welcome in the early part of Singapore’s history.

Communist symbolIndeed, use of the red star, or the hammer and sickle, is banned in Singapore, if the government has good reason to suspect that it is being used in a way that might compromise peace or good order.

Happily, beer, it turns out, is deemed less harmful to society than Communism, and the red star was merrily plastered on 100 bus stops, on the rear and sides of trucks driven all over the city, and on huge billboards at Raffles Place and Dhoby Ghaut for the #Morebehindthestar campaign.

Heineken outdoor ads

More behind the star

It also found its way into the hands of a few key influencers, who were excited (nervous?) to find out what was inside the contents of a locked briefcase they were instructed not to open until yesterday. Actor Nathan Hartono asked his fans: “What’s in the box?!?? Received a mysterious gift today: a locked briefcase with a red star. Any ideas? #Morebehindthestar”

Nathan Hartono

Kristin Koffel duly replied:

Was there ever a worry that the red star might be taken the wrong way and be associated with the guy with the big beard (not Santa), Dr Mumbo asked Heineken, the brand behind the campaign.

“That’s actually what we’re trying to say!” replied a PR agency spokesperson in an email. “There IS indeed a lot more behind the star – as we had soon unveiled!”

“A star can mean anything to anyone, but to Heineken, the 5-pointed red star is actually an ancient brewers symbol,” they explained.

“The four points represent the purely natural ingredients, namely malted barley, water, hops and Heineken’s unique A-yeast. The fifth point represents Heineken’s passionate craftsmanship. This iconic red star speaks of the brand’s authenticity and identity, and draws strong brand association with Heineken!”

“Through the campaign, we hope to reinforce the brand’s rich heritage, and a deeper understanding of the brand’s lasting legacy.”

And presumably not to confuse the Dutch brew with a red army bent on uprooting consumer capitalism.


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