Not too long ago, apps like Zoom carried a degree of novelty for consumers adjusting to remote work under the pandemic. Productivity for many companies shot up despite the society-roiling disruption of COVID-19 thanks to these services. With bars and restaurants back open, the always-on nature of such solutions might feel less like a benefit than a burden — one which Heineken is attempting to alleviate with its tech-enabled bottle opener.
Employees have increased their average working day by 2.5 hours amid COVID-19, according to NordVPN Teams data cited in the release. The growing blur between professional life and home life is well-documented at this point, as are its negative effects on mental health and linkages to burnout.
While The Closer carries a clear satirical edge, it aligns with how brands are making concrete efforts to tackle the tough realities of a world reshaped by COVID-19. The gizmo is also intended to symbolize the power every worker has to shut things down if they so choose. The Closer leverages Bluetooth technology to put nearby laptops into sleep mode when used on a bottle, a Heineken spokesperson told Adweek.
U.S. consumers can enter for a chance to win one for themselves on June 8 via a website portal, but submissions will only be open for a one-hour window starting at 10 a.m. ET.
Heineken’s ad campaign appears targeted at the white-collar crowd, with a banner film depicting busybodies in ties and blazers clocking out with the snap of a bottle cap (a newscaster duo does the same by accident after appearing credulous as to whether The Closer actually functions). But the concept could resonate more broadly amid newfound momentum for the labor movement in the U.S., with a proliferating number of unionization drives at companies like Starbucks, Amazon and Trader Joe’s.
Once all of The Closer items are claimed, Heineken has devised Calendar Closer events to prevent employees from scheduling meetings outside of usual work hours. First adopters of the Calendar Closer on Heineken’s website have the chance to receive beer money from the brand.
“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 at Publicis Worldwide, in a press statement. “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.”
Heineken is using the moment to highlight its own bids at improving employee welfare. The company, which employs around 80,000 people around the world, last year established a program to identify the causes of work-life imbalance and drum up solutions. The team backing the initiative plans to host 1,000 workshops in more than 80 countries in 2022 and beyond, according to the release.