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Brownnosers, Corporate Crime Star in Heineken Ads

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NEW YORK -- Heineken USA's historically amusing advertising continues in a dozen new spots that begin rolling out in November, sources said. The ads are the first created under the supervision of Lee Garfinkel since the noncompete clause in his Interpublic Group contract expired in June.

Garfinkel, worldwide chief creative officer at D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, left IPG's Lowe in January 2001, but his contractual obligations ended last summer. Heineken shifted its $50 million account from Lowe to D'Arcy in January 2002 without a review.

Garfinkel is in negotiations to join Publicis. Heineken executives have said Heineken will move to Publicis in New York [Adweek, Oct. 21].

The new work, which the agency presented at a distributors' meeting last week, includes six spots for Heineken and six for Amstel Light, sources said.

One holiday spot, directed by Tony Kaye, shows the outside of an office building as it snows. The camera pans upward, showing festive holiday parties on each ascending floor, sources said. On the top floor, it's revealed that someone is shredding documents and tossing the "flakes" out the window, which is creating a snowfall effect. The voiceover says, "For those of you who've not been naughty this year, Heineken wishes you happy holidays."

Another spot, also directed by Kaye, depicts a business traveler sitting alone at a bar when the bartender plunks a Heineken in front of him and nods toward the other end of the bar. The executive sees a seemingly gay man smiling back at him as the music plays, "If you're going to San Francisco ... ."

A third spot called "The Brown-noser" shows three executives and their boss sitting in a restaurant, all laughing heartily at the boss' jokes. It ends with one of them, labeled the "ultimate" brownnoser, pouring the boss a Heineken.

Sources said the new work retains the "It's all about the beer" tagline, which Heineken has used since January 1999.

Garfinkel could not be reached. A Heineken rep declined comment.