Heineken® Says “Cheers To The Real Hardcore Fans,” – But They Aren’t Who You Think

  • Heineken® launches “Cheers To The Real Hardcore Fans”, a campaign that subverts expectations and redefines what it means to be a “real hardcore fan” in an effort to tackle the negative hardcore fan stereotypes to help make football more inclusive.
  • Heineken® teams up with new ambassador, Dutch team captain Virgil van Dijk alongside former Lioness Jill Scott MBE, to celebrate the modern face of football fandom. To announce their ambassador roles Jill and Virgil took part in a challenge to spot the ‘real hardcore fans’ - HERE
  • The campaign kicks off with a global competition to find the world’s most dedicated “real hardcore” football fans, with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend the UEFA Champions League Final up for grabs – APPLY HERE


AMSTERDAM, Feb. 08, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Heineken® is kicking off the UEFA knockout stages with its new campaign building on the established ‘Fresher Football’ platform that aims to make football more inclusive.

The brand has been working to level the playing field by campaigning to make the sport a more positive and welcoming space to enjoy football together. This new campaign has set its sights on refreshing what it really means to be a hardcore fan, reclaiming this badge of honour that has for too long been associated with negative behaviour in football.

“There’s a minority of football fans that can spoil the game for everyone else, giving “hardcore” fans a bad name,” says Nabil Nasser, Global Head of Heineken® Brand: “But those problematic few don’t represent the majority. Our new campaign is a witty twist on the “hardcore fan” stereotype, showing instead what hardcore fandom really looks like, celebrating the diverse group of people who truly live and breathe the sport in a positive, and sometimes quirky way.”

At the heart of the campaign is a film created by Australian director Mark Molloy. It represents the true face of modern football fandom. The comedic and heartwarming film, inspired by real fans, shows the devotion people have to supporting the beautiful game. Click to watch the film: HERE.

Virgil van Dijk captain of the Netherlands national men’s team alongside existing ambassador Jill Scott MBE, former Lioness have joined forces on this next chapter in Heineken®’s drive for inclusivity in football.

“I used to go to The Stadium of Light with my granddad almost every weekend without fail, come rain or shine,” says Jill Scott MBE, “But when you think about what a hardcore football fan looks like, most people don’t picture a teenage girl. That’s what I love about Heineken®’s new campaign. It’s showing you what real football fans look like and playing on people’s expectations of who a real ‘hardcore’ fan is.”

Virgil van Dijk said; “The ‘Real Hardcore’ fans make me proud and appreciative as a player. I think reclaiming this phrase is important, the historic negative connotations are something we need to remove from the game, no one is born a racist, I think the key things to make change are education and communicating with each other. I hope we can be part of that change, that’s why I’m glad Heineken® is challenging the perception of what a real fan is to show there is a place for everyone in the game.”

To emphasise the message of supporting inclusive hardcore fandom, Heineken® has set aside seats at the UEFA Champions League Final for a select few real hardcore fans that share their stories with us. The winners will be provided with a once-in-a-lifetime final weekend experience. To learn more about the competition and to get involved, visit: www.heineken.com/realfansseats

To learn more about how Heineken® is helping to refresh football perspectives and foster a more positive and inclusive experience for all fans, visit: https://www.heineken.com/realhardcorefans

Editorial information:

Please find the high-resolution campaign images: HERE

For more information, please contact: HNKNFootball@edelman.com


HEINEKEN is the world's most international brewer. It is the leading developer and marketer of premium beer and cider brands. Led by the Heineken® brand, the Group has a portfolio of more than 300 international, regional, local and specialty beers and ciders. We are committed to innovation, long-term brand investment, disciplined sales execution and focused cost management. Through "Brewing a Better World", sustainability is embedded in the business.

HEINEKEN has a well-balanced geographic footprint with leadership positions in both developed and developing markets. We employ over 85,000 employees and operate breweries, malteries, cider plants and other production facilities in more than 70 countries. Heineken N.V. and Heineken Holding N.V. shares trade on the Euronext in Amsterdam. Prices for the ordinary shares may be accessed on Bloomberg under the symbols HEIA NA and HEIO NA and on Reuters under HEIN.AS and HEIO.AS. HEINEKEN has two sponsored level 1 American Depositary Receipt (ADR) programmes: Heineken N.V. (OTCQX: HEINY) and Heineken Holding N.V. (OTCQX: HKHHY).

Most recent information is available on HEINEKEN's website: www.theHEINEKENcompany.com and follow us on Twitter via @HEINEKENCorp.

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/b1b80131-58db-44bf-bdf6-abc95c03d5bd

Videos accompanying this announcement are available at: