The Tonic Water with "Those remarkable little bubbles that
last the whole drink." The Schweppes mascot was "Commander Edward Whitehead (1908-1978), an actual World War
II veteran of the South Pacific campaign in His Majesty's Navy, He 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!"
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 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."
TRIVIA 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
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
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