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Monday, 27 October 2014

The Heineken Cassette

A poster and some of the beer cans
In 1986 EMI Parlophone in the UK put together a promotion with Heineken, unusual for the fact that the Beatles have rarely lent their name to brands for advertising purposes.
Specially printed cans of Heineken beer were made, featuring a red triangular banner across the top that said "The Beatles - A Unique Cassette", in white, bold capitals. Around the bottom, the Beatles' first names, in capitals, in white on a red background, repeatedly circled the entire can. The cans came in two sizes : 275ml and 440ml of beer. The can was available only in Great Britain.
By sending in four special ring pulls from the cans and a crossed postal order or cheque for £2.99 (£2.49 + 50p P&H) made payable to "Heineken Beatles Offer", consumers received a special copy of a unique EMI compilation cassette titled "Only The Beatles..." (Parlophone/Stiletto SMMC 151). You could apply as many times as you liked. The offer ended on June 30th 1986 and production started on July 1st.
The cassette claimed to include two tracks that had not been previously made available in stereo, but only "Yes It Is" lived up to the hype as "This Boy" was in fact mock-stereo. Copies were sent out with a gift card, of which there were two versions - the green card came with Heineken's logo on the front whilst the red version had a picture of the Beatles on both the front and on the inside.

The cassette cover (front)


Side 1:
Love Me Do
Twist And Shout
She Loves You
This Boy
Eight Days A Week
All My Loving

Side 2:

Ticket To Ride
Yes It Is
Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
And I Love Her
Strawberry Fields Forever

The inlay card (continued from front)

The compilation was ℗ &© 1986 for Stiletto Limited, 122 Holland Park Avenue, London W11 4UA, with project realisation by Paul Watts (Stiletto) and Norman Bates (EMI).

The back of the inlay card advertised The Beatles' catalogue of albums.
Not happy with the arrangement, Apple Corps Ltd sued over it on the 18th of July, 1986, EMI got cold feet and the promotion was halted quite swiftly, thus rendering the cassettes valuable.

In 2007, UK magazine "Record Collector" reported that it had been rumoured that a large cache of cassettes were found in the late nineties, so there are probably more of these cassettes in circulation than previously thought. Thus, a cassette can be bought for £5-10 GBP whereas the promotional beer cans are usually more expensive - unopened even more so! Full packages of the cassette, the promo poster, gift cards and beer cans are commanding higher prices than each item in itself.

4 cassettes in the original cellophane and a used beer can went for $68.22 USD on ebay in September 2014.
The cassettes were originally sealed in packs of 20 in this cellophane wrapper.

Finally, PoggMeister sent us some pictures of a cardboard sales presenter featuring a pop-up of the Beatles. Here they are:



First fold

The Beatles pop-up on the left side.


Unknown said...

I possess an additional item connected to thee Heineken promo. At the time I was using the same promotional agency for a campaign and they knew I was a keen Beatles colector.

They gave me 4 cans of the beer (sadly drunk many years ago!), a cassette and a cardboard salese presenter. This consists of a sheet of cardboard from which the Beatles pop-up when unfolded. Would you like a phot of this?


wogew said...

I'd love to see that!

Beat Girl said...

It wasn't just available in England Roger. Scotland too! I know cos I have one thanks to my auntie who valiantly collected the ring pulls and sent away for the cassette for me.

wogew said...

A lot of people say "England" when they really mean "Great Britain", and the source of this information probably made this same mistake. I have rephrased the sentence now.

Anonymous said...

haha. I remember asking all my uncles if they drank Heineken, hoping they'd help me get this.
All of them just said 'What?', leading me to groan and forget it.


Unknown said...

Hi! Here are some photos of the sales presenter - feel free to add them to your excellent blog. Denis

wogew said...

Thanks a lot! I added them at the end of the post.

stpetric said...

I've been a late to the party on this one -- I didn't even know of this cassette's existence until I read it here two weeks ago! But I found one on eBay for a reasonable amount, and I'm its proud new owner. It's playing right now, in fact. Thanks for enlightening me!