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Stimulating Heineken Ads

Heineken is a Dutch beer (5% abv pale lager) which has been brewed by Heineken International since 1873. It is available in a 4.6% alcohol variety in countries such as Ireland. It is the flagship product of the Heineken company and is made of purified water, malted barley, hops, and yeast.

In 1886 H. Elion finished the development of the Heineken A-yeast, which is still used in the brewing process today.The beer is force carbonated. It is popular in the United States, Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Europe and Middle Eastern countries.

An interesting fact about Heineken is that in the mid-1990s, they sponsored a late-night youth culture and music show, Hotel Babylon. The company had planned a precise marketing strategy, and falsely believed that the show’s audience would match their target group in its income distribution and degree of ethnic diversity.

A fax sent on December 20, 1995 from the company’s sponsorship department in Amsterdam to the show’s producers, Planet 24, explained that the audience’s demographics were not in line with the company’s marketing strategy, that there was ‘too high [a] proportion of negroes’.In response, Bob Geldof, a founder and major shareholder in Planet 24, said that Heineken could ‘go fuck themselves’ as far as he was concerned. ‘I heard about the infamous fax and I hooted with derision. It is our programme, not Heineken’s,’ he stated.

On January 4, 1996, Karel Vuursteen, then chief executive of Heineken worldwide, responded to the fax, stating, “Having read the original, only one thing can be said about it: it should never have been written. [….] It is totally against everything Heineken stands for. Heineken denounces all discrimination and will live up to that. I hope you can accept my sincere apology and I can assure you that proper steps will be taken to prevent recurrence.


Alexandru is the co-owner of TopDesignMag. “If it looks easy, it's hard. If it looks hard, it's impossible. If it looks impossible, it's due tomorrow. At 8 A.M.”