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HIT OR MYTH?
 The truth about the
Heineken ad campaign


         A presentation by
          Kevin McLean


       WARDLE...
Introduction
The Myth of those
Really Great Heineken Adverts




        and how research nearly
  prevented them from happening
Research accused of
brutal assault on fragile
creative idea


an injustice!




It’s not fair

we was framed

we was only ...
A moral
  crusade?
         No


re-telling the story


  facts straight

   tracked down the
   original research



lear...
‘Tense Triangle(s)’
  The Board

                 Marketing
                                  Account
                 Cli...
Key players




                       Freddie H

Tony S-G   Frankie L
The Great Heineken
        Advertising Myth
‘Heineken’s “Refreshes the parts other beers cannot
reach” met with huge resis...
1. Heineken’s advertising was
   courageous and different to
      what had gone before
• agreed!

• although…

• ‘Things ...
2. The research said ‘don’t do it’ after
  the first couple of ads were made
• The first research - Paul Gildon
• Sample: ...
The research said ‘don’t do it’

• Researched days after ads launched
    ‘what’s beer got to do with ears?’

• Ads on str...
The research said ‘don’t do it’

• And..
  – more research carried out five months later
    (Strategic Planning Unit)
  –...
The research said ‘don’t do it’

• Also pointed out the ads:
  – enjoyed as advertising, position the brand
    away from ...
3. The agency persevered, for creative
reasons, so strongly did they believe in
             the campaign

 • They were ri...
‘Don
                               ’t w
                                    aste
                                        ...
… with a move to the off-trade
The agency persevered for creative reasons?


 • At Whitbread:
   –   a revolution under way
   –   off-trade customer pro...
The campaign
• Phase One: 1974 - 1988
  – ‘Refreshes the parts…’
  – 68 executions

• Phase Two: 1989 - 1998
  – ‘Only Hei...
4. The campaign was highly
    successful and increased
   awareness and consumption

• Certainly talked about…
  – No. 29...
But..                          Remember the
                               summer of ‘76?

                               ...
The campaign was highly successful?


• Heineken did not gain significant share
  relative to the competition

• Surely th...
The campaign was highly successful?


• The brand did score higher than average on
  ‘refreshing’…

• … but tracking studi...
Lager Advertising Expenditure

        50000
        45000
        40000            Stella
        35000
                 ...
Lager Sales - On Trade

     100%
                                     Stella
     80%
                                   ...
Lager Sales - Off Trade

     100%
     80%                            Stella
                                    Budweise...
The campaign was highly successful?

• Highly successful, or successful up to a point
  – that point being around mid-80s?...
5. Owning refreshment provided a
strong platform for the advertising
         and for the brand

      ‘Refreshes’ - an ad...
refreshment as a brand platform...

‘Viewer-as-viewer’ vs ‘viewer-as-drinker’

Ads reference world of stories, TV, film et...
refreshment as a long-term brand platform...

  Do you remember the one about…
    Sally the musical seal
    The   Onion ...
refreshment as a long-term brand platform...

  • The residual communication of the ads:
    – user values (middle class, ...
The 1980s!
Foster’s, XXXX

PPLs


Heineken losing
touch
refreshment as a long-term brand platform...

 • 1992 launch of Heineken Export
    – Stephen Fry, ‘smooth talking bar ste...
6. Heineken’s advertising helped the
 brand become a long-term success

 • Well…

 • In 2000 Interbrew took over Whitbread...
a long-term success?

Heineken BV said...
‘During the 90s, Heineken Cold
Filtered continued to be a key
player in the stan...
a long-term success?


• So, farewell, then, standard Heineken
  – gone but not forgotten
  – thanks to all the ads

• Wha...
Conclusions

• We said good qualitative research helps
  to make great advertising
  – evidence?



    (at WARC presentat...
It’s a people
thing




research mediates
between   ideas and
             things
How does it work?   It’s a mystery




                                       give me that




you have to
 wonder
       ...
Conclusions

• Use the tools, like the Creative Idea
  – useful discipline for ad development
     • provides focus, commo...
Planners and
  researchers
  work together

   Learn from each other



   More training
   Less attitude



Maybe...
… be...
...or maybe not




                  cheers
'Hit or myth', the real story behind Heineken's famous 'refreshes the parts' ad campaign
'Hit or myth', the real story behind Heineken's famous 'refreshes the parts' ad campaign
'Hit or myth', the real story behind Heineken's famous 'refreshes the parts' ad campaign
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'Hit or myth', the real story behind Heineken's famous 'refreshes the parts' ad campaign

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Heineken's 'refreshes the parts' ad campaign is routinely held up by adland as an example of a brilliant campaign nearly killed by research. The truth is different. It was a good campaign, which research endorsed, but which was not as good as everyone

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'Hit or myth', the real story behind Heineken's famous 'refreshes the parts' ad campaign

  1. 1. HIT OR MYTH? The truth about the Heineken ad campaign A presentation by Kevin McLean WARDLE McLEAN STRATEGIC RESEARCH CONSULTANCY
  2. 2. Introduction
  3. 3. The Myth of those Really Great Heineken Adverts and how research nearly prevented them from happening
  4. 4. Research accused of brutal assault on fragile creative idea an injustice! It’s not fair we was framed we was only trying to help
  5. 5. A moral crusade? No re-telling the story facts straight tracked down the original research learning/principles
  6. 6. ‘Tense Triangle(s)’ The Board Marketing Account Client person Agency Research manager Creative Planner Research
  7. 7. Key players Freddie H Tony S-G Frankie L
  8. 8. The Great Heineken Advertising Myth ‘Heineken’s “Refreshes the parts other beers cannot reach” met with huge resistance on first showing, as it broke all the rules of beer advertising….The team was brave enough to ignore the results (of the qualitative research)… That intuition proved to be right and the campaign went on to be one of the most successful ever, building both sales and brand image over many years.’ David Taylor, The Brand Gym
  9. 9. 1. Heineken’s advertising was courageous and different to what had gone before • agreed! • although… • ‘Things are better after…’ “it’s really a bit like ‘Double Diamond works wonders’” Whitbread research, 1974
  10. 10. 2. The research said ‘don’t do it’ after the first couple of ads were made • The first research - Paul Gildon • Sample: 30 interviews, male lager drinkers • Ads shown: – Piano Tuner, – Policemen, – Dancers • Objectives: – evaluate the 3 commercials in terms of communication and comprehension – identify any particular strengths and weaknesses – provide creative guidance for development
  11. 11. The research said ‘don’t do it’ • Researched days after ads launched ‘what’s beer got to do with ears?’ • Ads on strategy • Refreshment as an advertising idea ‘concentrates exclusively on the restorative effect of Heineken at the expense of its appeal as an enjoyable drink’ – will the advertising vehicle deliver enough brand equity?
  12. 12. The research said ‘don’t do it’ • And.. – more research carried out five months later (Strategic Planning Unit) – 20 interviews, similar objectives • showed first two ads plus Potter and Frankenstein • ads found ‘clever’, ‘amusing’, they ‘stood out’... • strong, but qualified endorsement of the campaign
  13. 13. The research said ‘don’t do it’ • Also pointed out the ads: – enjoyed as advertising, position the brand away from everyday – a strong creative idea - a brand property? – NB product quality cues and user values - the residual communication • The Myth Created – that research cannot deal with creative ideas – in this case, showed that it can – and maybe got it more or less right
  14. 14. 3. The agency persevered, for creative reasons, so strongly did they believe in the campaign • They were right to persevere – but it had much more to do with business than creative reasons • At Whitbread: – the tied estate - brewer domination…
  15. 15. ‘Don ’t w aste valu able Tav ern time ’ t ttha pin rt’ , the qua h y t ’s a rop ks i ‘T i n th … set to change
  16. 16. … with a move to the off-trade
  17. 17. The agency persevered for creative reasons? • At Whitbread: – a revolution under way – off-trade customer profile (women) – Thresher: 235 shops in 1974, 1500 in 1993 – marketing wins brewery power struggle • At the Agency – strong marketing backing - vested interests – ‘carte blanche’ - why do research?
  18. 18. The campaign • Phase One: 1974 - 1988 – ‘Refreshes the parts…’ – 68 executions • Phase Two: 1989 - 1998 – ‘Only Heineken can do this’ – 33 executions • Phase Three: 1998 - 2002 – ‘How refreshing, how Heineken’ – 9 executions, including… – ‘Buy a pint of Heineken or we’ll keep running this commercial’
  19. 19. 4. The campaign was highly successful and increased awareness and consumption • Certainly talked about… – No. 29 in Channel 4’s ‘100 Greatest Ads’ – … also much talked up at the time • Huge sales increase of Heineken… – could not make enough of it – … so the ads are selling pints?
  20. 20. But.. Remember the summer of ‘76? … ‘74 and ‘75 were nearly as hot! market grew by 25% CBL, Harp, Skol, Carlsberg.. .. all grew considerably Heineken’s share did not appreciably increase
  21. 21. The campaign was highly successful? • Heineken did not gain significant share relative to the competition • Surely the advertising improved brand awareness and perceptions? • Not as much as you would think...
  22. 22. The campaign was highly successful? • The brand did score higher than average on ‘refreshing’… • … but tracking studies showed that other image measures hardly changed in this first campaign phase • Better scores later in the campaign?
  23. 23. Lager Advertising Expenditure 50000 45000 40000 Stella 35000 Budweiser 30000 £000 25000 Fosters 20000 Carling 15000 10000 Heineken 5000 0 97 98 99 00 01 02 19 19 19 20 20 20 Source - Nielsen
  24. 24. Lager Sales - On Trade 100% Stella 80% Budweiser 60% £m Fosters 40% Carling 20% Heineken 0% 1997 1999 2001 2002 Sources - Mintel Interbrew
  25. 25. Lager Sales - Off Trade 100% 80% Stella Budweiser 60% £m Fosters 40% Carling 20% Heineken 0% 1997 1999 2001 2002 Sources - Mintel Interbrew
  26. 26. The campaign was highly successful? • Highly successful, or successful up to a point – that point being around mid-80s? • John Wanamaker, WalMart founder, said in 1905 ‘I know that half of my advertising dollars are wasted, but I don’t know which half’
  27. 27. 5. Owning refreshment provided a strong platform for the advertising and for the brand ‘Refreshes’ - an advertising idea vs ‘More refreshing’ - product proposition But Heineken was 3.2% abv (= gnat’s) weaker than the competition ads reinforced this
  28. 28. refreshment as a brand platform... ‘Viewer-as-viewer’ vs ‘viewer-as-drinker’ Ads reference world of stories, TV, film etc Dixon of Dock Green Little Red Riding Hood Frankenstein Leslie Phillips + Charles Hawtree Star Trek Percy Thrower Emperor Nero Norman Wisdom makes connections, but...
  29. 29. refreshment as a long-term brand platform... Do you remember the one about… Sally the musical seal The Onion seller The Snake charmer The kebab singing ‘oh Donna’ The priest who blows a party popper? What about… the ‘scary movie’ with Julie Andrews the annoying yuppie smothered by a red phone box the Morris dancers who knock each other out?
  30. 30. refreshment as a long-term brand platform... • The residual communication of the ads: – user values (middle class, feminine, effete) ‘how drole, how Heineken’ – supported by weak product – and packaging cues (can, light green) • Heineken as the ‘safe option’ – vs Royal Dutch or ‘Hangoverbrau’ – or, ‘a beer for w*****s’ • New brands and new values emerging...
  31. 31. The 1980s! Foster’s, XXXX PPLs Heineken losing touch
  32. 32. refreshment as a long-term brand platform... • 1992 launch of Heineken Export – Stephen Fry, ‘smooth talking bar steward’ • But Whitbread switching focus to Stella – and Heineken gets into rugby sponsorship • 1998 Heineken returns with new ads – ‘how refreshing…’ – characters acting against stereotype – eg helpful workmen, successful Blues man
  33. 33. 6. Heineken’s advertising helped the brand become a long-term success • Well… • In 2000 Interbrew took over Whitbread brewing interests – license to brew Heineken expires – Heineken withdrawn from UK in Feb 2003 • Joins Skol, Hofmeister, Harp – rather than Carling, Carlsberg, Foster’s
  34. 34. a long-term success? Heineken BV said... ‘During the 90s, Heineken Cold Filtered continued to be a key player in the standard lager market… however, tastes of British drinkers were changing… As a result… Heineken resumed responsibility for its brand and for the first time, the authentic, Dutch-brewed Heineken (5%) became available in the UK.’ (well, wouldn’t you?)
  35. 35. a long-term success? • So, farewell, then, standard Heineken – gone but not forgotten – thanks to all the ads • What did the advertising contribute to the brand’s fortunes… – part of its success and/or its downfall? – hardly as good as it was claimed (by ad industry) at the expense of researchers
  36. 36. Conclusions • We said good qualitative research helps to make great advertising – evidence? (at WARC presentation, there followed a video with ‘Surfer’ and ‘Swimblack’)
  37. 37. It’s a people thing research mediates between ideas and things
  38. 38. How does it work? It’s a mystery give me that you have to wonder honestly
  39. 39. Conclusions • Use the tools, like the Creative Idea – useful discipline for ad development • provides focus, common ground people see the execution… … and find the meaning meaning creative idea THE CREATIVE IDEA execution
  40. 40. Planners and researchers work together Learn from each other More training Less attitude Maybe... … better teamwork could have saved Cold Filtered..
  41. 41. ...or maybe not cheers

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