Heineken Expands Relationships With Publicis Groupe and Dentsu

A new creative agency model and consolidated global media

Heineken bottles
Publicis Groupe will work closely with Heineken via a new creative agency model called Le Pub. Heineken

Heineken has made changes to both the creative and media sides of its global agency relationships, expanding its partnerships with Publicis Groupe and Dentsu.

Publicis Groupe will work closely with Heineken via a new creative agency model dubbed Le Pub with a distinctive headquarters in a central Amsterdam bar expected to open in January of 2021.

“In today’s dynamic consumer environment, we need to be able to move quickly and be as relevant as we can for consumers. We are therefore adjusting our agency model,” Heineken global senior director Bram Westenbrink said in a statement. “The new partnership with Le Pub is based on providing localized creativity at a global scale, with speed.”

A Le Pub team across Amsterdam and Milan will be tasked with integrating creative, data and brand experience for Heineken, powered by Epsilon and Publicis Sapient. Publicis Groupe previously worked with Heineken on creative globally, and the move will mark an expansion of its responsibilities into brand experience and data services. Heineken has also built up its in-house creative team in recent years.

“With the creation of Le Pub, we are launching a new agency model, showcasing how we are uniquely positioned to unlock the alchemy of creative, data and tech to make experiences that impact people’s daily life,” Publicis Groupe global creative director and Le Pub CEO Bruno Bertelli said in a statement. “After almost a decade working with Heineken, I’m positive they are the perfect client to launch it with.”

Heineken is also largely consolidating global media buying and planning responsibilities with Dentsu, effective Jan. 1, 2021, expanding a relationship in which Dentsu Red Star already handled the majority of Heineken’s media spend. Adweek 2020 Breakthrough Media Agency of the Year Canvas Worldwide will continue serving as Heineken’s media agency partner in the U.S., a Heineken USA representative clarified. Publicis Groupe will retain media agency responsibilities in France.

Heineken spent an estimated $605 million on media last year, nearly a third of which is spent on digital channels, according to global data consultancy COMvergence, including around $220 million in North America.

According to a statement, the move marks an evolution of Heineken’s media operating model with the goal of maximizing its global media investment in service of driving sustainable business growth. Dentsu will be tasked with implementing a media model allowing Heineken access to more specialist capabilities and talent to accelerate brand growth.

“We are delighted with Heineken’s decision to consolidate their global media services with Dentsu,” Dentsu CEO, media and global clients Peter Huijboom said in a statement. “Over the last 3 years we have built a trusted partnership with Heineken, rooted in a track record of delivery and innovation, particularly in the acceleration of Heineken’s individualized data driven marketing ambition. We are excited about building a future media model together across the entire Heineken portfolio.”


@ErikDOster erik.oster@adweek.com Erik Oster is an agencies reporter for Adweek.
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