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Culture

Heineken scores a Web hit

The Italian branch of Heineken persuades men, under false pretenses, to attend a classical music and poetry concert on the same night as a big soccer game. The results are astounding.

On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, anyone with humanity, a pulse, and functional eyes, ears, and cerebellum watches Champions League soccer.

I know that not everyone has yet been converted to this phenomenon. Equally, this being a World Cup year, I feel sure that the beauty of the world's most popular game will continue to seep into resistant pores.

In Italy, despite the fact that they play a brand of soccer that makes the dead grateful, there is no one left to persuade. Which is why this stunning, brilliant, original, inspired guerrilla marketing should make you look at most tech advertising and shed tears into your beer.

Strangely enough, this little piece of guerrilla peacemongering is for Heineken. And it resulted, according to its creators, in more than 5 million unique visitors going to the Heineken Web site as well as massive TV coverage.

The idea revolved around hitting at the very core of the Italian man's heart and the remains of his principles.

Devious human beings were hired by Heineken in order to cajole and guilt more than 1,000 people to attend a classical music and poetry evening rather than sit at home or in their favorite bar and watch Real Madrid play the depressingly second-rate AC Milan.

Suffice to say that Italy is full of people who can be forced to do many things, even, for one night, to give up a soccer match.

I won't spoil the ending, so please watch the embedded film. If you feel nothing by the end of it, please rush to see your doctor, psychiatrist, or first spouse immediately.