Heineken Hid a Rugby Legend Inside a Dublin Pub. Here’s What Happened Next

A slow, satisfying reveal for hard-core fans

Headshot of Angela Natividad

Days before the opening match of the Rugby World Cup, Heineken surprised a Dublin pub chock-full of rugby fans with the coolest prize machine ever.

In exchange for their names and emails (handy!), users who approached the machine played fairly simple rugby-related games. When someone won a prize, the machine distributed an autographed rugby ball, complete with a creepily customized message from former All Black star Jonah Lomu, arguably the Michael Jordan of the sport.

Messages included things like, "To Karl. Like the beard. Jonah," which suggests either a super-intelligent machine, or the presence of the star somewhere in the pub (within signing distance, at the very least).

From the opening moments of the branded video, it's clear Lomu is hiding inside the machine, eagerly anticipating the big reveal. (He groans in his dark confines when an unsuspecting player selects John Smit, and not himself, as the "greatest player of all time"… though it isn't shown what prize that person got. Maybe a deflated ball with a huge slash along the seam.)

But even for the most discerning fans, the reveal must nonetheless have come as a surprise: Some time later, former Irish player Shane Horgan walks into the bar with a fresh batch of balls. He approaches the machine, then waves Lomu out for a shift change.

This moment in rewarding fandom is brought to you by Rothco, which previously developed other super-elaborate rugby campaigns for Heineken, like "Run With It" and "The Kick."

@luckthelady angela.natividad@gmail.com Angela Natividad is a frequent contributor to Adweek's creativity blog, AdFreak. She is also the author of Generation Creation and co-founder of Hurrah, an esports agency. She lives in Paris and when she isn't writing, she can be found picking food off your plate.
Publish date: September 17, 2015 https://dev.adweek.com/creativity/heineken-hid-rugby-legend-inside-dublin-pub-heres-what-happened-next-166938/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT