Taking ‘Never Drink When Driving’ To The Max

Over the past two decades, South Africa has witnessed significant changes in rules and law enforcement around drinking and driving and now, a new Heineken commercial featuring double F1 World Champion Max Verstappen, reinforces a critical message.


  • Despite many efforts, the carnage on South Africa’s national roads remains alarmingly high.
  • While drinking and driving is not the sole cause, it undoubtedly plays a significant role in a country grappling with a drinking problem of epidemic proportions.
  • However, recent developments, such as the rise of services like Uber and a growing disdain for driving under the influence, indicate a positive shift towards greater responsibility.
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Among those reinforcing a long standing adage is Heineken, with their just-released global campaign, ‘WHEN YOU DRIVE, NEVER DRINK,’ featuring F1 superstar Max Verstappen. Heineken’s cleverly crafted campaign addresses the issue of responsible drinking head-on, urging people to choose designated drivers based on a critical criterion: sobriety. The campaign highlights a disturbing trend where designated drivers are often selected for arbitrary reasons, such as driving experience or merely volunteering.


Instead, Heineken emphasizes that the best designated driver is the one who has abstained from alcohol – unless, of course, that drink is Heineken 0.0, certainly one of the better tasting non-alcoholic beer alternatives available.


Drawing inspiration from recent research on designated driver selection, Heineken’s campaign portrays Max Verstappen socializing with friends while repeatedly being chosen as the designated driver, not because of his F1 driving skills but because he remains sober. The creative serves as a reminder that the most critical factor when deciding on a designated driver should be their sobriety, putting safety at the forefront of any night out.



The campaign not only reinforces the message of responsible drinking to motorsport fans worldwide but also underscores the necessity of clarity and single-mindedness, particularly concerning safety while driving.

As an F1 driver, making the right choices both on and off the track is vitally important for success. When driving, having that clarity and single-mindedness, particularly when it comes to safety, is crucial. On top of working on an upcoming, exciting new gaming initiative with Heineken called Player 0.0, I’m proud as a Heineken 0.0 ambassador to help advocate responsible drinking to motorsport fans all over the world. The campaign was great fun to shoot and I hope everyone not only enjoys the film, but also takes away the important message behind it.

// Double F1 World Champion, Max Verstappen


The new campaign, brought to life by creative agency Le Pub, directed by Bradley & Pablo, and produced by PRETTYBIRD, has debuted in the Netherlands, captivating audiences through social media and digital out-of-home platforms. As the year unfolds, the campaign will roll out globally, continuing to promote the importance of making responsible choices when it comes to drinking and driving. Heineken dedicates a significant portion of its media budget – somewhere in the region of 10% – to support responsible consumption programs.


Leveraging global influence and partnering with well-known figures like Max Verstappen, Heineken brings the critical issue of drink-driving to the forefront of public consciousness once more and as it should. Their approach skillfully blends entertainment and education, emphasizing that everyone can play a role in preventing accidents caused by driving under the influence.


As South Africa continues its battle with the repercussions of drinking and driving, Heineken’s bold ‘WHEN YOU DRIVE, NEVER DRINK’ campaign whilst not a new rallying call, is a refreshing and crucial reminder to make the right choices. It urges individuals to prioritize safety by choosing designated drivers who remain sober throughout the night. With initiatives like these, combined with societal shifts in attitudes towards drink-driving and the availability of alternative transportation options, there is hope for a safer future on our roads.


The message is clear. If you’re out on the town, don’t drink and drive, or choose a non-alcoholic alternative.


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