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Commander Whitehead - SchweppesCommander Whitehead - Commander Edward Whitehead (1908-1978), an actual World War II veteran of the South Pacific campaign in His Majesty's Navy starred as the refined bearded gentleman who pushed Schweppes "curiously refreshing" Tonic Water at a variety of cocktail parties. When asked what beverage he preferred to drink, the Commander replied "Schweppervescence! Of course!," because Schweppes Tonic Water had "Those remarkable little bubbles that last the whole drink through."

Joan Alexander played the woman whose face was never seen but to whom the Commander was always talking and trying to remember where he last met her..."Now wait, don't tell me. Was it Hong Kong? Beirut, Cairo, perhaps?"

The "Was it Paris?" campaign was created by Ogilvy & Mather Agency in 1955 and ran through the 1960s. In later campaigns the Commander promoted a new and improved Tonic Water with Bitter Lemon and Bitter Orange flavors. As one 1967 print ad said:

Commander Whitehead on Horseback"Commander Whitehead first established a beachhead with Schweppes Tonic. He then battered your barricades with Schweppes Bitter Lemon. Now he advances upon you with Schweppes Bitter Orange.

You will find this a most amicable invasion. Schweppes Bitter Orange, like all Schweppes beverages, is loaded with Schweppervescence! You know, little bubbles that last the whole drink through.

Schweppes Bitter Orange is made with whole fresh oranges including the peel.

It is a versatile mixer and a staunch refresher when taken alone. As in the case with Bitter Lemon, it is slightly bitter to the tongue.

But then, the British long ago discovered that victory is not always sweet."

Commander Whitehead with GlassTRIVIA NOTE: To lend respectability to the Commander's proper British demeanor, the people at Ogilvy and Mather ad agency initially decided to hire top models for the commercials. Newt Mitzman, the director for the Schweppes spots recalled that one of the models that was chosen as a dinner companion for the Commander (a beauty called Carmen) was very, very glamorous, indeed. Unfortunately, "she had a voice that could shatter glass and had to be completely overdubbed."

In 1970, Commander Whitehead's popularity earned him the right to have an oil on canvas portrait of himself painted by the famous artist Bernard Hailstone (1910-1987) whose subjects had included such British political notables as Sir Winston Churchill, Lord Mountbatten, as well as the renown actor Peter Ustinov.

And one final point. Commander Whitehead was actually the President of Schweppes (USA) and General Manager (Overseas). It was David Ogilvy who decided to personalize the company ad campaign and use the Commander as its focus. Consequently, the Commander became very famous and popular. As David Ogilvy told the Commander ""People are more interested in individual personalities than in corporations."

Subsequently, on his many trips around the USA, the Commander was greeted politely by thousands of fans who not only enjoyed the Schweppes products but his stylish British persona. During one such visit to the West Coast, a young woman - a member of the "live" audience at a Los Angeles TV show asked: "How do American women strike you?" The Commander cleverly replied "So far, none have."

Commander Whitehead Print Ads

Commander Whitehead Arrives by Jet Plane

The Commander and the Princess

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