Ethical perspectives

Topics: Social responsibility, Alcoholic beverage, Heineken International Pages: 9 (1211 words) Published: June 30, 2014

June 06, 2014

Heineken: Cultural Issues of a Global Organization
As the top beer selling company on a global scale, Heineken Inc. has persevered successfully across 70 countries of cultural differences in its 145-year history in the international industry. Marketing alcoholic beverages across many countries comes with language barriers, translation issues, cultural acceptance issues, and possible resultant misunderstandings by stakeholders. What may be accepted and understood as a socially responsible marketing message in the American market can be an insult to African or Middle East markets. A socially acceptable Swiss image of a girl in a bikini holding a bottle of beer can cause significant cultural rejection in conservative markets, such as Israel. Furthermore, target marketing varies from country to country because of age legality and local customs. As Heineken continues to dominate one of the most competitive industries in the world, they must also continue to consider, address, and positively influence multiple consumer cultures across their global market to maintain standing as a competitive international organization in their industry. When advertising to a global market, Heineken must understand the language and cultural acceptance of alcoholic beverages within each country. In more conservative Arabian countries, such as Egypt, beer is still considered to be sinful by many locals but is slowly gaining acceptance partially because it is relatively low priced (Euromonitor International, 2012). Although not a major competitor in Greece, Heineken took advantage of the recent economic downturn with locally acceptable supermarket advertising featuring Heineken and Amstel beers as low-cost alternatives to the more expensive and socially accepted spirits (Euromonitor International, 2012). In Croatia where beer is a highly sought-after tourist beverage, Heineken owns and operates its Karlovacka Pivovara brewery with a market share of 19% (Euromonitor International, 2012). Each country has its own ethical perspectives on how one should consume beer and maintains its own attitudes toward consumption of the product. By owning breweries in each of these countries, Heineken benefits from its local employee culture and advertises its product in socially acceptable ways within each country. Ethical issues and social responsibility resulting from the sale of alcoholic beverages become more important in the world’s poorer nations, such as Cambodia and Africa. Alcohol sales, marketing, and consumption are connected to the spread of HIV/AIDs in these poor nations because of the ‘beer girls’ that market the product. These girls wear tight outfits with Heineken colors and company logos and have unprotected sex with customers to supplement their meager income (Fair Trade Beer, 2002). Because of its social responsibility in such countries, Heineken has worked with local Cambodia organizations to establish HIV/AIDs education programs for the ‘beer girls’ that sell their beer. In Africa, Heineken has established the Heineken Africa Foundation to provide funding for health care and health-related education while simultaneously establishing itself in Ethiopia for mutually positive economic benefits (Heineken N.V., 2011). As a global organization, Heineken has remained socially responsible to the economically depressed countries in which it produces and supplies its alcoholic beer products. Because it supplies many different countries around the globe, Heineken must also pay close attention to age legalities in each of the countries. This is not only important from a legal standpoint but also positions them as a social responsible organization that carefully considers the target markets. The organization cautiously curtails marketing messages to avoid marketing to those not of legal age. In 2006 Heineken launched its first campaign aimed at Internet users which encouraged Heineken drinkers to ‘know the...

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Euromonitor International. (2012, May). Beer in Egypt. Retrieved May 29, 2012, from Euromonitor International:
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Fair Trade Beer. (2002). Why are the beer promotion women in Cambodia not being cared for? . Retrieved May 29, 2012, from Fair Trade Beer:
Heineken International. (2011). Enablers. Retrieved May 29, 2012, from Heineken Sustanability Reports:
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