Neil Patrick Harris stars in Heineken Light's new "Best Tasting Light" campaign. (PRNewsFoto/Heineken USA)

How the beer company used a Broadway star to get creative when ad restrictions intervened

Neil Patrick Harris is apparently just the guy Heineken wanted to drink, er, attempt to drink their beer onscreen. In a new commercial featuring Heineken Light, the winner of the “Best Tasting Low Calorie Lager,” the company’s ad agency Wieden and Kennedy pokes fun that a series of US alcohol restrictions permit it from to featuring anyone drinking the beer in ads.

In the ad, Harris argues with the director of the commercial in a moment of confusion when told he can’t drink the beer he is promoting. After suggesting that a stunt double step in to drink out of the bottle, the director, exasperated tries to explain the rule to Harris. In another take on the strict guidelines, Harris goes off screen as sound effects make it appear that he is drinking from backstage.

Besides being the subject of one of the newest advertisement comedy riffs, he brew has recently been reformulated to appeal to young adults ages 21 to 27, who on a survey, said they prefer light beer with more flavor. The beer has 99 calories but extra hops have been added to give it that fuller punch.

The beer has been repackaged in a sleek, thin-necked bottle and this summer, the brand introduced an 8.5-ounce can. Although this sleeker-looking, healthier beer is meant to free consumers to drink more with less conscious, the ironic ad restrictions make it that much more difficult to showcase. But with the help of a well-honed comedian, perhaps the light lager will fare just fine on the market.

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