To celebrate their 150th anniversary, the Dutch beer company Heineken prepared a special commercial in 2023 called “Whatever You Call Us”. It shows how people call the beer around the world, like in Brazil for example, which usually people might say “verdinha”, which could be translated to “little green one”, because of course, the color of the bottle.
They even joked about how people might call it “Hakkinen”, which is the same surname of the legendary Finish ex-Formula 1 driver Mika Häkkinen and that’s why he also appears in the commercial.
But one of the elements of the Heineken commercial that made it even better was the music. The song has lyrics in French and was “performed” by an artist born in Belgium.
Which is the French song from the Heineken commercial
The track is called “Ça Plane Pour Moi” and was written by Lou Deprijck and Yvan Lacomblez. It was recorded by the Belgian musician Plastic Bertrand but he wasn’t the vocalist in it. The vocals were actually recorded by Deprijck, who was one of the songwriters. Lou also produced the album “An 1” (1978), in which the song was featured.
The meaning of the song title is “This Works For Me” and another interesting fact about the track is that the backing track came from another song released one year before. It was first used by Elton Motello, which was an English Punk Rock band, in their song “Jet Boy, Jey Girl“. Since then many people believed that the British song was actually a cover of “Ça Plane Pour Moi”. Because the Plastic Bertrand version was an internation hit while the Elton Motello song didn’t perform well in the charts.
It peaked at number 1 in France and Switzerland at the time, something you could relate to the language in those countries, of course. It also performed really well in many other European countries. In the United States Billboard Hot 100 appeared in the position 47. The single was a success and sold an estimated amount of more than 900.000 copies all over the world.
It was actually the producer who sang on the first four Plastic Bertrand albums
In an interview back in 2010 with Le Soir, Bertrand admitted that it wasn’t his voice in the song. He revealed that after an expert linguist concluded that the voice in the hit actually was from the producer.
“He banned me from going to the studio. I was stuck. I was in the shit. And the day I left [record label] RKM to be free, he smeared me. So I took him to court for slander but I lost because I accused him of being a crook. But now, I’ve had enough. I’ll sue him again for slander.”
Bertrand said that Lou Deprijck told him to “shut up” at the time in exchange for 0.5 per cent of the rights to the music. He also promised the Belgium artist that they would record a new version of the song with his vocals, but that never happened. The producer also said that it was actually him who sang on Bertrand’s first four albums.
After those first four records, Bertrand continued his career and recorded six more studio albums. The most recent one is ‘L’expérience Humaine” released in 2020.