Have you seen those new Heineken commercials with the licensing tie-in to the new James Bond film? There’s so much going on that we almost missed the new Heineken bottle design. That’s a bold move for a company that’s built a real following on their stumpy green bottle with the iconic “33.” As it turns out, though, the German beer had to shake things up. The industry is in the middle of some serious bottle wars. Bud Light Platinum recently hit the shelves in a cobalt-blue bottle that offered plenty of intrigue. Miller Light countered with the allegedly high concept of a beer can that opens up a second tab so that the beer flows more smoothly. Meanwhile, Heineken has been stuck with being the #2 beer import since 1997, when Corona Extra took over the top position. Things have only gotten worse since a slew of other imports have shown up to chip away at Heineken’s thin lead.
Can the new bottle save the day? Heineken seems determined to work a more modern look here, with a bottle that’s 1.25 inches taller than the old one. The biggest difference is a longer and narrow neck that keeps the Heineken bottle from seeming distinct. The alleged compensation is a curve in the bottle grip that’s supposed to keep the clientle holding the bottle down while taking a swig. That’s meant to help keep the drink colder. We can understand the logic there. The company is still putting a lot of faith in some test marketing, though. At least they haven’t changed the Heineken recipe. Now we just have to see how the marketing pays off with Heineken hooking up with James Bond for the release of the new Skyfall. The suave superspy even quaffs a Heineken during the big-screen adventure. That’s some maximum endorsement power–although we’d like to think Bond would be enough of a savvy consumer to say, “Hey, what happened to the bottle?”