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Heineken Talks to 5 About Global Project

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LOS ANGELES Heineken is in "very initial discussions" with five undisclosed agencies about a branding initiative that could run in any of the 170 global markets in which the brewer does business, according to company representative Nicole McNaughton.

Wieden + Kennedy's Amsterdam, Netherlands, office serves as Heineken's pan-European agency, and its ads also run in other regions, including Asia.

"We're just looking for new agency partners, for an expansion of the roster," said McNaughton, who stressed that W+K "is working with us on upcoming projects," including new executions in its global "Meet you there" campaign.

McNaughton said Heineken is "looking at head offices of international networks," though she would not disclose the location of the agencies nor identify contenders. McNaughton would not detail the brief except to say that it was a branding assignment, not for a new Heineken product. The budget for the work in review could not immediately be determined.

Consultancy Agency Insight in London is assisting with the search, sources said.

"As far as we're concerned, we continue to be their pan-European agency and we will continue to work well with them," said Kerrie Finch, a rep for W+K, which won the Heineken business in 2003.

Publicis in New York handles the brand domestically.

Heineken spent an estimated $300 million in global advertising in 2004. Its U.S. ad spend last year was $75 million, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.