Heineken Beer Commercial "The Odyssey"

Featuring Song "16 Toneladas" (16 Tons) by Noriel Vilela

Nothing like a bit of mystery and controversy to generate speculation, gossip and buzz for a commercial. The ad we are making reference to is "The Odyssey" commercial from the Dutch brewing company & beer maker Heineken. The song used in the ad is in the Portuguese language and it is called "16 Toneladas" which means 16 Tons. The tune is sung by Noriel Vilela from Rio De Janeiro, who was a former member of a samba group called Ebony Singers.

Original Commercial


Who Is That Man?


In case you have not watched this particular commercial yet, when you do, you will understand why we, and the rest of the world asked "Who is that man?" after seeing the ad. In the ad, we first see a huge cruise ship in the ocean as a man is seen climbing into it. After the long bearded man makes his entrance into the cruise ship, he begins to move about the ship smiling and greeting people as he goes by them. The confusing part of the ad is that as the man continues to mill and move about the ship, his appearance appears to change, somewhat. While the changes are subtle, they are enough to leave the viewer wondering. The man then begins to perform different amazing feats and stunts. Slowly, his appearance starts to change even more to finally let the viewers know that it is in fact different actors being used. Or are they?


Original Song:


Lyrics Used In Song:


Embalo como este

Só quem vai curtir

Quem não se machucar

Quando deixa cair

Por isso, vem, vem

Embale na nossa

Este balanço

Tira qualquer um da fossa

Ele é um barato e é da pesada

Esse é o famoso 16 toneladas

--- Translated -- 

Rocking like this

Only who will enjoy

Are the ones that don't get hurt

When let it fall

Then come, come

Rock on ours

This rocking

Get's anyone out of the ground

It is nice and hard

This is the famous 16 tonnes


More Interesting Facts

The song used in the ad is not in English which only served to baffle or work to intrigue the viewers even further. The tune is sung by the Portuguese singer Noriel Vilela who died back in 1975. Noriel had a real deep bass voice which helped make him famous. The original ad was created by the Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam agency who hired 20 similar looking men to do this ad. It has been part of the Heineken "Legends" campaign. The promotional movement is based on the concept that people can do anything that they put their minds to. This helps to explain the manifesto used in the ad where we see the different men performing so many feats. There are two versions of the ad, a short one and the long extended one. In the longer version, the secret is revealed at the end of the ad. The man jumps off into the water and the passengers all gasp in disbelief as he falls. While they all run to see what happened to him, it is there that we see all of the men together on a makeshift raft. As the men all look towards the people on the ship, on cue, they all take a vow as if to say “Thank you” to the passengers. Yes, the commercial is very confusing as it leaves you wondering what was going on and who was this man. However, in the end, it was and is a great gimmick which help make it that much better.