Freddie Heineken - Beer Master and Ad Man

Freddy Heineken, who was 78, died of pneumonia in Amsterdam today, January 3, 2002. Local newspaper De Telegraaf described his career by saying that after WWII he built the family business into a global brand comparable to Nike or Coca Cola. Of course Freddie Heineken was incredibly wealthy and famous among the jet-setters back in the '60s and '70s.

Fame led to his kidnapping in 1983, when he was held in a tiny warehouse room for three weeks until a rumored 17 million euro ransom was paid by his family. We have also heard that all but four million euros were later recovered.

Freddie loved playing up his eccentricities and was responsible for the unique image of Heineken worldwide at that time, and devised advertising pitches that made Heineken a world-famous name. Amsterdam newspaper De Volkskrant quotes him as saying "if I hadn't been a beer brewer I would have been an advertising executive."

Another scheme Freddie was proud of would have divided Europe into 75 nation-states, each with no more than 10 million inhabitants. This was his grand plan for peace in modern Europe.

I have to wonder what Freddie thought of the Euro? Or perhaps he had a final fit just days after its introduction.

Amsterdam seems to be coping sadly, I passed the Rembrandtplein on may way to an appointment today and was nearly run over by a horsedrawn carriage festooned with black ribbons. It was covered with beer kegs, and quite a crowd was chasing it down the street for the free beer being handed out.

Wow! Free beer in Amsterdam! Who would have thought it could happen!

R.I.P. Freddie Heineken

Note: The man who built Heineken into the huge multinational corporation has died.

Freddie Heineken - Beer Master and Ad Man
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