Friday’s ad is for Heineken, from 1977. In the year I graduated from high school, Heineken was considered “the good stuff” by my step-father’s friends and relatives, which in retrospect is rather sad and indicative of the state of beer at that time. This is also at a time when Holland seemed mysterious, and people really didn’t know much about the European nation. So using such cliched images in their ads like tulips and windmills probably made sense, but looks really dated now. Even the beer glass has a windmill on it.
Today in 2010, US Patent D609053 S1 was issued, an invention of Ramses Dingenouts, assigned to Heineken Supply Chain B.V., for his “Beer Glass.” There’s no Abstract, and the entire application is just one sentence. “The ornamental design for beer glass, as shown and described.”
Obviously, this designed has been used by Heineken as a proprietary glass in recent years, over the five years since the patent was granted.
Sunday’s ad is for Heineken, from 1976. Showing a cliched view of a windmill with a bottle and glass of Heineken in the foreground, the headline is “If You Can’t Come To Holland Have A Heineken.” This ad is from when I was a junior in high school, and I remember being with my stepfather and visiting a business associate of his. The guy we were visiting asked my stepdad if he wanted a beer, asking if he’d prefer a regular beer or “the good stuff,” which turned out to be Heineken. Oh, how times have changed.
Friday’s ads are for Heineken, and some James Bond tie-in ads they did, beginning with Tomorrow Never Dies in 1998. Using the somewhat clever tagline, “Some things shouldn’t be shaken or stirred,” I like the sentiment, unfortunately it doesn’t really fit the beer.
Then for 2006’s Casino Royale, they used the same tagline again with at least three ads:
Thursday’s ad is a recent one for Heineken, in support of a music festival they sponsored, the Heineken Jammin’ Festival in Venice, Italy. I may not like their beer, but they do put out some great advertising. The photo of a band on state from overhead, with the floodlights lighting the crowd makes it look like a pint of dark beer with a nice head and bubbles. Awesome shot.
This isn’t exactly new, but it’s still pretty cool, despite using green bottles. They may not be great for keeping UV light out of the beer, but they do work great for building Christmas trees. Completed in 2006, 2000 Heineken bottles are controlled by animated lighting equipment built by the homeowner.
I stumbled in this fun little project, a model of the Roman Coliseum made entirely of beer bottles. It was the Telegraph’s Picture of the Day back in May of 2009.
A model of the Colosseum made of 1,500 bottles of Heineken is displayed at Rome’s Termini Station to celebrate the final of the Champion’s League. The sculpture has a diameter of 11.5 feet and a height of 4.6 feet.
Heineken announced at the beginning of December that next year they’ll be launching redesigned bottles and cans along with a big reduction in the number of sizes they’ll be selling worldwide. The packaging redesign is cosmetic, but the package size reduction is more worrying.
According to the press release, “[t]he restyling aims to streamline the visual identity and make the brand even more consistent and recognizable in all 170 markets worldwide where Heineken can be enjoyed. The new bottle will come in five different volume sizes and will be available in Western Europe at the beginning of 2011 and across the rest of the world by 2012.”
While I realize that packaging, brand identity, etc. are very important, I still can’t help but laugh at some of the language and the way in which the new packaging design is framed. For example, check out this description:
The new bottle, replacing the XLN (extra long neck) and Heineken shortneck packaging, is introduced in two versions: embossed and standard. The new design features a unique curved embossment on the neck and back, which not only looks good, but also adds a pleasing to-the-touch feel, whilst a distinctive embossed mark acts as a stamp of quality and authenticity. Additionally, the new shape makes it look proud while enhancing the premium positioning of the bottle.
Yes, nothing says quality like a “pleasing to-the-touch feel” except perhaps the actual taste of the beer. How “proud” the new bottle looks. Huh? The “embossments,” made by using “strategically placed indents and tactile ink” somehow add “to the overall drinking experience.” Hilarious. Nothing makes me enjoy my beer more than having little raised spots on my bottle to hold on to. Of course, I always pour my beer into a glass, but I’m weird that way. No worries, a newly redesigned glass “features an embossed curve on the side, adding a pleasant feeling when held.” So they got us glass-drinkers covered, too. Whew.
But all this attention paid to their “revolutionary tactile ink” just cracks me up, and is indicative of why the big brewers are stagnating. They continue to focus on marketing and ignore what’s really important: how their beer tastes. Undoubtedly, marketing is going to keep them huge for a long time to come, but slowly it is having an effect. So this “revolutionary ink, created by a series of small raised dots on the surface of the can, gives the consumer a better feeling in the hand, enhanced grip and allows the brand to appear more refreshing and recognizable.” Nothing like an “enhanced grip” to make the beer “appear more refreshing.” I’m certainly interested in how that process works. How exactly does my grip on the beer bottle give the beer inside “the power to restore freshness, vitality, energy, etc.,” which is the definition of refreshing. That’s some pretty impressive osmosis.
But snarkiness aside, the real news is that Heineken will be reducing the number of package sizes they offer worldwide “from fifteen to five bottles sizes.” I understand any company’s reasons for reducing the number of items they sell, to a point at least. As they concede, it’s being done to achieve “greater efficiencies in the supply chain.” And it may not mean anything, but then again I can see at least one possible scenario that could play out. If Heineken cuts two-thirds of its package sizes, it’s not too hard to imagine the other international beer companies doing likewise. With the vast majority of glass manufacturer sales going to just a few companies, most likely they’d simply discontinue making the package sizes that Heineken and the others abandon. That would make those other ten bottles sizes unavailable for smaller breweries, too, or at least prohibitively expensive. Maybe that’s a stretch, but at a minimum I think it at least bears watching.
The changes will start early next year, first in Western Europe, and then the rest of the world over the balance of the year.