It’s World Copywriter’s Day. Let’s celebrate some iconic brand lines, penned by inspirational writers.
Great lines come and go. Some stay with you for life or lie dormant at back of your mind, only to be released by some random memory trigger. Others fade away in time — like the ink on a sun-bleached page. We all remember different slogans for different reasons, here are some classics that created positive change for brands.
Beanz meanz Heinz
The great thing about this line is that it does what it says on the tin (to coin another classic line contender). This catchy little tagline was penned in 1967 by Maurice Drake in the Victoria pub in Mornington Crescent London. I always think of ‘I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue’ when hearing Mornington crescent — I never understood the rules of that game, but then again, I think that’s the point. The pub was the ‘think tank’ for many creatives at that time. He also wrote the jingle ‘A million housewives every day, open a can of beans and say Beanz Meanz Heinz’ — it was the late 60’s.
The line has had many resurrections over the years and Heinz even changed their label design in 2004 to say Heinz Beanz even though the iconic line wasn’t being used in marketing at the time. I must admit, I think they should have had the Heinz-sight to do that much earlier. That’s the quality of a good line — it can influence and enhance more than just the brand.
65 years on, the timeless ‘Beanz Meanz Heinz’ slogan continues to have relevance and brand power. Recently Heinz updated ‘Beanz Meanz Heinz’ and changed it to ‘Beanz Meanz More’ — not as catchy as its predecessor. But, as part of a drive to show consumers that Heinz is a company about more than just beans and stay relevant with current food trends. It’s a nod to the past and a wink to the future.
In 2027 it will be the diamond jubilee of this historic line. Perhaps we’ll see a promotional can of Heinz beans where you can win a real diamond.
Beanz meanz caratz. There you go Heinz — you can have that for free.
One of the best — you never forget it once you’ve read it. “Lipsmackin’ thirstquenchin’ acetastin’ motivatin’ goodbuzzin’ cooltalkin’ highwalkin’ fastlivin’ evergivin’ coolfizzin’ Pepsi.” and the last word was always hissed Pepppssssssssssssiiii. It has got to be the longest tagline ever. Eleven words of the best copywritin’ of its time. Whoops! I’ve just googled it, and this is longer (There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s MasterCard) it’s got a longer word count — but shorter character count, but it’s nowhere near as good.
Penned by the mighty Dave Trott back in 1974. It was one of his first ads. Apparently, the brief had so many things to say: refreshing, modern, young, energising, delicious, bubbly, stylish, he couldn’t get them all in one line — sounds familiar.
So, he took inspiration from a book by Tom Wolfe, ‘The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby. (Sounds ace, I must read it) Then he remembered a DJ on radio Luxemburg — Emperor Rosko — who used to talk about a track as “A real knuckle-cracking thigh-slapping foot-stomping head-shaking toe-tapping rocker”.
He put the two together — the boss, loved it. The rest is hissssssssssssstory.
Vorsprung Durch Technik
The idea to use the line Vorsprung Durch Technik came from John Hegarty and Barbara Nokes, who came across these three faded words over a doorway during a tour of the Audi factory in Ingolstadt. Further investigation of the line provided them with a springboard for a UK ad campaign in the early 80s. Porsche, Mercedes and BMW were accepted as the best cars in the world at the time and very German. They were looking for a tagline that would establish Audi as definitely German to help them compete. So, the old line over the door was reimagined to Vorsprung Durch Technik — as they say in Germany.
The research came back negative on the proposed line. ‘Don’t use it, it’s too German, the British won’t buy it”. But the client was brave enough to run with it — saying they’re German and should be proud of it. When the ad campaign was launched the dealers were calling up saying they love it and had customers coming in wanting to see a bit of that Vorsprung. The slogan was an immediate success. It changed people’s perceptions of the brand and embraced Audi’s German heritage, becoming synonymous with precision and engineering. And it achieved all this with the audience not really knowing what it meant. We don’t even have a word in English for ‘Vorsprung’, it literally translates as ‘leaping ahead with technology’ or ‘Forward through technology’ or ‘Being ahead through technology ’or progress through technology’ or ‘Advancement through technology’.
But, it’s become part of the vernacular and when that happens you know you’ve hit gold. It’s more than just a tagline, people believe in it — even though over 40 years later, we still don’t know how to pronounce it correctly.
Well, there you go, three iconic Ad lines that changed brands. There are many more to choose from and potentially better lines out there. These are just the ones that immediately vor’sprung’ to mind when thinking about World copywriters’ day. Let’s celebrate the magic of words and the clever trickery of copywriters that bring them together to create memorable ad campaigns.
Watch out for World art directors’ day. Where we discover that pictures are worth a thousand words.
While we’re on the subject of art directors. I was at the chip shop awards a few years back, and a guy got up on stage to accept his award. If you win a chip you are encouraged to say a few words of acceptance. He’s handed his chip and with a big grin on his face, he walked casually up to the microphone and said “Im an art director. I don’t do words” and walks away.
Brilliant! I turned to my colleague and said, “I bet his copywriter wrote that”.