Launching the slogan “Refreshes the parts that other beers cannot reach” in 1974, early Heineken adverts on British television were simple but effective – a piano tuner failing to tune a piano until he had a drop of Heineken; the tired feet of bobbies becoming refreshed after a glass – with Victor Borge doing the voice-overs.
But one of the most celebrated Heineken TV ads was a 1986 pastiche of the George Bernard Shaw scene from Pygmalion, which featured the lines “The rain in Spain . . .”
The advertising agency wanted a Sloane Ranger with a plummy voice saying these lines – posh at first and then with more and more working-class accent as she sips the Heineken. At the eleventh hour, it emerged that the lines would cost a fortune to clear, so the team had to think of something else, fast.
In a flash of brilliance, they came up with, “The water in Majorca don’t taste like what it oughta”. In this case, Heineken was refreshing the parts wot other beers cannot reach!
Another memorable ad had William Wordsworth failing to come up with “I wandered lonely as a cloud”, beginning with “I walked around a bit”.
After two decades and a hundred variations on a theme, Heineken ended its classic campaign in 1990 with lonely shopping trolleys returning from their resting places in fields and rivers to the supermarket from whence they all came. It was a perfect ending for one of British advertising’s all-time great campaigns.