“A million housewives every day pick up a tin of beans and say ‘Beanz Meanz Heinz'”.
Surely both improbable and factually incorrect, this is still one of the most famous lines in advertising history.
Heinz first advertised its beans in 1914 with a slogan aimed at Boy Scouts – “The best beans for a hike”. Anything would have been an improvement, but “Beanz Meanz Heinz” wasn’t just any slogan . . .
Copywriter Mo Drake took his team to the Victoria pub in Camden when they couldn’t come up with an idea for their new Heinz campaign. While scribbling, it occurred to Drake that you could end “Beans” with a ‘z’ as “Heinz” did.
The actual number of housewives who bought Heinz beans every day was 1.75 million, but the figure wasn’t very ad-friendly so they knocked it down to an even million – a rare case of an ad agency ‘underselling’ the product it was promoting.
The new slogan received some criticism from schoolteachers who claimed that the company was promoting the use of bad spelling. But the slogan was voted ‘Most Popular Advertising Slogan Ever’ in 1999.