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Heineken Taps Publicis As New Creative Lead Agency 2 Weeks After W+K Exit

Assignment came without a review

Publicis's "Dream Island" work helped win the agency lead status on Heineken.

Publicis Worldwide will assume lead global creative responsibilities for the Heineken brand, following the split between the world's third-largest brewer and Wieden + Kennedy two weeks ago.

The Publicis Groupe network has been one of Heineken's roster shops, producing ads like the Dream Island campaign. The change, effective July 1, comes without a review, and Publicis will continue to work alongside other current Heineken agencies.

"The [Publicis] team has consistently demonstrated a strong understanding of the strategic direction of the brand, and we have been enormously impressed by their strong creative ideas and innovative approach," Jan Derck van Karnebeek, Heineken chief commercial officer, said in a statement about the switch.

Publicis takes over top creative responsibilities at a time when Heineken NV's flagship brand is enjoying a global upswing: In the first quarter Heineken's volume among international premium beers rose 6.2 percent organically with growth across most markets, including Vietnam, Brazil, China, South Africa, Spain, Taiwan, Canada and the U.K. Heineken is still trying to regain momentum in the U.S., a marketplace awash with regional microbrews. (In the fourth quarter there were some indications of that as the brand posted growth in the states, which contributed to a 4 percent gain in the Americas.)

W+K worked on Heineken for five years, producing work like the "Legends" campaign that helped the company earn recognition as the 2015 Creative Marketer of the Year at Cannes.

In other Publicis news, the network said it is dropping 'Kaplan Thaler' from its New York flagship, which merged in 2012 with the shop founded by Linda Kaplan Thaler.

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