How do you promote non-alcoholic beer among young adults? During a week-long boot camp, students from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) were challenged to put their knowledge into action to design a marketing campaign for 0.0% beer. The project, which included guest lectures, a real-life business case, and boardroom presentations, took place at the Heineken Experience in Amsterdam in January 2015.

During the RSM & Heineken Sustainability Grand Challenges Boot Camp, the students from RSM’s MSc in Global Business & Stakeholder Management programme (GBSM) were confronted with Heineken’s challenge of promoting alcohol-free beer to adults between 18 and 25 years old, and had to identify the interplay between business operations, marketing, and consumers in society, and offer solutions with potential scalability.

In addition to presentations by Heineken’s marketing experts, the students attended a lecture by business consultant Nicolas Constantinesco about developing long-term marketing strategies, followed by a guest lecture by climate journalist Bernice Notenboom about passion, perseverance and personal resilience. The students also participated in a beer tasting, including samples of Amstel Radler 0.0% , Amstel 0.0% , Wieckse 0.0%, and Wieckse 0.0% Radler.

Brand strategy

In teams, the master students explored ways to inspire young people to choose a drink from Heineken’s 0.0% brand portfolio: Amstel, Wieckse and Jillz. As part of creating a marketing campaign for the Dutch market, the students had to consider how it would fit into Heineken’s overall brand strategy, and how the opportunity could be disruptive.

Each team chose one brand and an occasion to promote the beer, and then developed scientifically-based marketing concepts for how to drive brand awareness, brand equity and sales of 0.0% propositions. The students also improved their presentation skills with before presenting their marketing campaign strategy to Heineken’s expert jury. The jury members were Bas Stok, sustainability manager at Heineken Netherlands, as well as Maarten ten Houten, sustainability manager global innovation; Sebastian Urlik, global marketing manager of 0.0% Radler; Laura Trivulzio-Huijgen, global innovation manager at Heineken International; academic director of the GBSM programme Steve Kennedy; and RSM’s course co-ordinator Eva Rood.

The winning team consisted of RSM students Nicolas Lerch, Emma den Ouden, Rexin Singotani, Anne-Lot Struijk, and Inez van der Vet. The jury was impressed by the team’s spot-on marketing campaign that carefully took into consideration the target audience, the scope set by Heineken, and the brand value of Amstel 0.0%. The team’s presentation included an attractive mood board and a short commercial, all prepared within the 11 days.

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is a top tier European business school and ranked among the top three for research. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who carry their innovative mindset into a sustainable future thanks to a first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes. RSM also has offices in the Amsterdam Zuidas business district and in Taipei, Taiwan.

For more information on RSM or on this release, please contact Marianne Schouten, Media & Public Relations Manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at

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