Heineken Bottle Opener Battles Work-Life Imbalance

Part of campaign, high-tech gadget encourages workers to close down at end of workday
Heineken's The Closer high-tech bottle opener
Photograph courtesy of Heineken

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — Workers have increased their average workday by 2.5 hours during the pandemic, according to New York-based NordVPN Teams, which sets up businesses with virtual private networks. Beer maker Heineken wants to do something about this work-life imbalance because when added up, these extra hours are negatively affecting overall employee well-being, translating to less time spent with friends and family or pursuing personal hobbies, the company said.

Enter “The Closer,” a high-tech bottle opener that immediately shuts all work applications when someone opens a bottle of Heineken with it.

Dramatized in a campaign video as the antidote to the increasing demands of our always-on work culture, The Closer bottle opener itself is a satirical symbol for the power every worker must close down at the end of the day, Heineken said.

“As a brand, we have always stood for creating moments of shared connections with others,” said Bram Westenbrink, global head Heineken Brand at Heineken, White Plains, N.Y. “With the once-rigid boundaries between work and personal time rapidly deteriorating following the COVID-19 pandemic, we want to spark a much-needed conversation about the importance of resisting the societal pressures to be in a constant state of busy work and encourage workers around the world to reprioritize social and leisure time with the people who matter most.”

The Closer bottle opener will be announced at an upcoming launch event. A keynote address by comic and actor Billy Eichner will unveil the only gadget that can help solve a core problem caused by other remote-work-enabling technologies, Heineken said.

“By overemphasizing the necessity of such a high-tech marvel, Eichner will remind us all that everyone already has everything they need to close down right at their fingertips,” the company said.

Workers in the United States will be able to enter for a chance to win a Closer bottle opener from 10 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. Eastern time June 8 at More devices will be made available in additional markets in the coming months.

Once all the bottle openers are claimed, Heineken will encourage workers in the U.S. to block their calendars at the end of the day with a Calendar Closer to prevent coworkers from scheduling meetings after working hours. Workers first to use the Calendar Closer at the website will be rewarded with beer money to enjoy social time with their friends.

“As people continue to feel like they have to work all the time, they’re forgetting that disconnecting is even an option," said Bruno Bertelli, global chief creative officer of Paris-based Publicis Worldwide, the lead agency that created the campaign. “That’s why we created The Closer. It’s not just technology; it’s a social provocation to help people see that the pressure to work all the time is getting a little ridiculous, and we all have the power to log off and go hang out with our friends again.”

With more than 80,000 employees worldwide, Heineken has not been immune to the increased demands placed on its workforce, it said. An employee well-being program was established in 2021 to identify causes of work-life imbalance around the world, with a dedicated team responsible for identifying and sharing best practices to address them. This year and beyond, the team plans to host more than 1,000 workshops in 80-plus countries to find new ways of working to better support the professional, emotional, social and physical well-being of all employees.

This is the first campaign from Heineken that launches “For a Fresher World,” a new creative expression that aims to refresh the world by showing life tastes better with an open mind.

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