Airport-Goers Play Travel Roulette at JFK
When Greg Vosits arrived to New York’s John F. Kennedy airport on July, 9th, he was headed to Vienna en route to the medieval city Györ, Hungary, his hometown, to spend the summer. But when the University of Connecticut doctoral student was approached by a woman clad in Heineken regalia proffering a chance to scrap his plans and play travel roulette—a game show-style contest with a far-flung destination waiting on the other end of a button—his mind raced.
“My friends will think I’m stupid if I don’t do this, I will regret it for the rest of my life,” he thought.
And so, with cameras in his face, he took his chance, Cyprus shuffled onto the board, and the Mediterranean beckoned. Now to just clear it with mom.
“Are you crazy? “ was her response filmed live while he delivered the news that he wouldn’t be coming home just yet.
The marketing ploy by Heineken is part of an ongoing effort to moor the brand to an adventurous, worldly, travel-centric ethos. In addition to a web series called “Dropped”—a reality show where people are deposited in unfamiliar places, becoming interlopers with assigned missions to complete—it’s clear Heineken is increasingly playing to Millennials, who more than ever seem to be a generation enchanted with exploring the world.
On his trip, Vosits rode a shuttle from the market with old Cypriot women, played beach volleyball and drank beers with a local group of guys, and soaked in the east-meets-west culture of the island. But his biggest take away? A lip-smackingly delicious vegetable.
“If you ever go, eat a tomato. They’re very orange and very sweet, the best I’ve ever had.”
Nate Storey is an editorial assistant at Travel + Leisure.