Son Heung-Min kicks off multi-market Tiger Beer campaign

tiger beer heineken son heung min

Tiger Beer expects great things in 2022, so it’s starting the year by kicking off a year-long, multi-market campaign in which Korean-born football star Son Heung-Min advises people to make the Year of the Tiger into the ‘Year of Your Tiger’.

The beer’s Global Brand Director, Sean O’Donnell, said during an exclusive interview with Campaign Asia-Pacific 2022 is a big year for Tiger for two reasons. First, the brand is celebrating its 90th anniversary. And second, 2022 will literally be the Year of the Tiger once the lunar new year begins on the 1st of February.

A new campaign under the brand’s long-term ‘Uncaged’ platform seems especially fitting since many people have been ‘supercaged’ for parts of the last two years, O’Donnell noted.

“We wanted to make sure that we we launched at the start of the new year, where people are starting to make their resolutions for the year,” said O’Donnell. “I think people are probably reflecting a lot on what’s happened over the last 24 months and starting to think, ‘What does my future hold?’ And so we thought it was a perfect time to share what Tiger believes in and really try to inspire consumers to step forward and take that next step to chase their big dreams for next year.”

The ‘Year of Your Tiger’ campaign that was launched on January 4th, which Son started teasing on his Instagram account earlier, has been in the works for about a year, according to O’Donnell, who has been in charge of the Heineken-owned brand for about 18 months following a storied stint leading Heineken in New Zealand (where he oversaw the creation of both ‘Brewtroleum’ and ‘I’m drinking it for you’).

The campaign comes from ‘Publicis One Team Tiger’ in Singapore, with CCO for global clients Ajay Vikram in the creative lead.

The film (below) was directed by The Sweet Shop’s Fausto Becatti, with Archetype in charge of PR and Dentsu International handling media.

As 2022 begins, Son is leading the South Korea team into the World Cup, and he has been dropping apparent hints about his ambition to win a trophy for his home country. In Son, O’Donnell believes Tiger has secured an ideal ambassador – one whose track record parallels the brand’s own history.

According to brand lore, back in 1932 when Tiger got its start in Singapore, expert brewers said quality beer simply couldn’t be brewed in an equatorial climate.

tiger beer heineken sean o'donnell
Sean O’Donnell

“But our brewers defied the odds, and we liken that story to that of Son,” O’Donnell said, citing the Tottenham Hotspur star’s journey from Korea to the world’s top leagues, where he is by statistics and general agreement the best Asian footballer in history (for example, he just won a Best Footballer in Asia prize for the fifth consecutive year).

“I mean, there have been Asian footballers who have played in the top leagues in Europe before, but no one’s had the impact that Son has had,” O’Donnell added. “He truly has transformed how football fans perceive Asian footballers.”

The campaign will roll out in all Tiger’s markets, starting with Asia, Oceania and Brazil, and it will run throughout the year.

“Our focus for Tiger is in Asia Pacific, but we’re also growing outside of Asia Pacific,” O’Donnell said. “We’ve got good growth in Africa and the Middle East, and we launched in 2021 into the Americas, in Brazil, which is one of the world biggest beer markets, and into Peru.” Football travels well into all these markets, and although Son has a global profile, the brand is also “looking to partner with other ambassadors, who we’re in negotiations with, across the rest of the year”, O’Donnell added further. “In all our key markets we’ll also be partnering with local influencers to share their stories, so that we can take it from a global level to a local level.”

The ‘Year of Your Tiger’ campaign aims to take the brand from “talking the talk, to walking the walk”, O’Donnell said. From a creative perspective, the brand is looking to be “way more digitally focused” and will be offering up “a whole lot more” interactive, experiential activity. For example, Tiger packaging will include QR codes for downloading and sharing content, and the brand will be more creative in its use of TV partnerships and out-of-home channels, he hinted.


TIGER BEER, The Heineken Company

Sean O’Donnell – Global Brand Director, Tiger

Melissa Teoh – Global Marketing Manager, Communications & Digital

Willem van den Wijngaart – Global Marketing Manager, Market & Channel

Hannah Nottage – Global International Brands, Craft & Cider Communications Manager, Heineken company


Ajay Vikram – Chief Creative Officer, Global Clients Singapore

Henrique Zirpoli – Creative Director

Ivan Loos – Creative Director

Joaquim Laurel – Executive Creative Director

Rudy Zulkifly – Associate Creative Director

Diego Barboza – Associate Creative Director

Henrique Lamenha – Associate Creative Director

Breno Ribeiro – Senior Art Director

Daniel Tolentino – Senior Art Director

Shalom Wong – Senior Project Manager

Daniel Ho – Executive Producer

Jasmine Ho – Producer

Ed Booty – Chief Strategy Officer, Asia Pacific

Ali Rezgui – Global Strategy Lead

Laurent Thevenet – Head of Creative Technology, Asia Pacific & Middle East and Africa

Donatien Souriau – Executive Vice President, Global Clients

Angelina Tan – Business Director

Lins Khoo – Account Director

Vanessa Liu – Account Manager


Owen Waters – Deputy Managing Consultant

Brittany Lawrence – Account Director


JP Salustiano – Chief Strategy Officer


Production Company: Sweetshop

Director: Fausto Becatti

Executive Producer/Managing Director: Laura Geagea

Executive Producer: Penny Woo

Producer: Prim Viseshakul

Director of Photography: Julien Ramirez Hernan (Bangkok), Thomas Revington (London)

Production Designer: Suras Kardeeroj (Salem) (Bangkok), Theo Boswell (London)


Production company – Katapolt photographic management & production

Executive Producer – Adrian Appel

Producer – Becky Humm

Photographer / CGI Artist – Jean-Yves Lemoigne

Senior Print Producer – Jasmine Ho


Digital Imaging Artist – Luke Hutchings, Liam Connell

Source: Campaign Asia-Pacific

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