Bringing Refreshment to Britain’s sense of humour, 60 seconds at a time: an appreciation of Terry Lovelock

Remembering copywriter Terry Lovelock, who passed away in February at the age of 84.

Heineken "Water in Majorca" (1985) by Lowe Howard Spink: one of many ads to feature Terry Lovelock's famous endline
Heineken "Water in Majorca" (1985) by Lowe Howard Spink: one of many ads to feature Terry Lovelock's famous endline

The copywriter Terry Lovelock, who passed away in February, belonged to a generation of creative people who produced advertising so entertaining that it proved more popular than the programmes it interrupted. Together with art director Vernon Howe, he created one of the great examples of this type of advertising: the famous "Heineken refreshes the parts that other beers cannot reach" campaign. Yet, despite his accomplishments as a copywriter, advertising wasn’t Terry’s first career.

He’d previously been a successful jazz drummer, accompanying the likes of Dave Brubeck and John Dankworth. But without guaranteed day-to-day employment, and with a wife and three children to support, Terry had to look around for a regular paycheck, so he took a job at Premier Drums in its sales department.

It was here that he began to write, producing ads and articles on behalf of the company. He branched out offering his services to other Soho firms. Eventually, he landed a job as a junior copywriter at the Hobson Bates agency. Despite the less than sparkling creative reputation of Hobson Bates, Terry managed to assemble a sample book that was good enough to secure him an interview at Collett, Dickenson and Pearce, then Britain’s foremost creative agency. John Salmon, CDP’s creative director, hired him on the spot.

At CDP, his first work was for the Irish airline, Aer Lingus. Later, he wrote ads for Dunn & Company, in John Salmon’s words "a spectacularly dull men’s outfitters". Dunn & Company may have been dull but Terry’s ads weren’t. One typically witty headline springs to mind, written to advertise men’s overcoats: "The extremes of weather and fashion, our topcoats protect you from both." Terry went on to produce award-winning work for Bird’s Eye frozen foods, TV Licence Evasion, Wall’s sausages and Harveys Bristol Cream, to name just a few. But Heineken was his finest hour.

"Refreshment" was the one-word brief he’d been given, along with three weeks to work on it. The three weeks sailed by, and then another three, then a month, then another month, and still the much-needed idea eluded him. He decided a change of scene might help. So, without telling anyone – least of all Frank Lowe, CDP’s boss – he piggybacked a Ford car shoot that Vernon was overseeing in Morocco. There, in his hotel room at Marrakech’s famous Mamounia, he awoke from a dreamless sleep at 3am and scribbled "Heineken refreshes the parts that other beers cannot reach" on a scrap of paper. 

On hearing of Terry’s death another prominent copywriter, John Kelley, said that a lot of creative people have much to thank Terry for. John was referring to those creative people like himself who wrote award-winning work that followed in the wake of Terry’s original Heineken idea. I, too, am thankful to Terry. He hired me at CDP, a job that laid the foundations for whatever success I may have achieved since.

After CDP Terry moved from writing into creative direction, first at French Gold Abbott, then at his own agency, Medcalf, Wrightson and Lovelock. But it’s fair to say that he was always happier as a writer than a creative director. So he returned to CDP as such, writing many commercials on the agency’s newly won Scottish & Newcastle beer account.

He started making commercials, at first his own scripts, then those written by others. Among the self-penned films he directed was one of the much-loved Leonard Rossiter-Joan Collins Cinzano commercials. Rossiter was so taken with Terry’s skill as a director that he treated him to a meal at La Tante Claire, then one of London’s most expensive restaurants. 

Small and dapper, always turned out in suit and tie, Terry was entertaining and amusing, glorying in his CDP nickname of Terry Lovelunch, earned for his prolific prandial presence in restaurants. On one memorable occasion Terry took it upon himself to use his company expense account to entertain the entire staff of CDP to lunch at a local Greek restaurant. On another, the hottest day of the sweltering summer of 1976, he sent a memo that asked CDP workers to close their windows and sit beside their nearest radiator to assist in a test of the agency’s central heating system.

Yes, there’s no question that Terry was a true original, a one-and-only, somebody whose mould was broken as soon as he was minted. He provided those of us who knew him with a steady supply of fun. And, thanks to Heineken and much of his other work, he did the same for members of the public. In fact I’d go as far as to suggest that these 30- and 60-second interludes helped to refresh that most precious of qualities possessed by we British: our sense of humour.

Terrence Arthur Lovelock, born Romford, Essex, November 7, 1936; died Brighton, West Sussex, February 7, 2021.

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