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Heineken just made the ad Pepsi wishes it had

Commentary: You want to bring people together over the drink you're selling? Watch this. Millions on YouTube already have.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Well, that's an icebreaker.

Heineken/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Over the last couple of weeks, you've likely walked over to someone you dislike or fear and handed them a Pepsi.

As a joke, that is.

The now-infamous Pepsi ad in which Kendall Jenner creates world peace with her charm and a carbonated drink was ridiculed throughout social media.

Now along comes Heineken with a similar thought -- about bringing people together, that is. The beer company, however, has executed that thought in a far more original and compelling way.

In this ad, pairs of people with very different social and political mindsets are brought together to perform certain tasks.

They don't actually know each other, nor are they aware of each other's political stances. (Though in one or two cases, it might not be so hard to guess.)

What transpires is a fascinating journey through prejudices and revelations. As for the beer, it only comes in at the end. And it isn't rammed down anyone's throat.

Of course, it's an ad, so it's always healthy to don skeptical sackcloth. I wonder, for example, how many of these pairs didn't end up prepared to discuss their differences, cursed in coarse English and walked out. I also wonder how many realized the idea before the denouement was filmed.

A Heineken spokesman insisted that the people in the ad are real and not actors. (Actors can never be real people.) He told me that the company has been working for many months with a non-profit organization called the Human Library that tries to overcome stereotypes and prejudices by getting people of differing views to actually talk.

Many have clearly been absorbed by this ad. More than 2.7 million people have viewed it on YouTube. And a mere 649 have so far disapproved.

Heineken's marketing director, Cindy Tervoort told the "Today Show" that making the ad was "life-affirming."

A life-affirming beer ad is hard to swallow. Still, it does make the case for beer being a better way of bringing people together than sweet, sickly drinks.

And sweet, sickly ads, for that matter.

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