$80 Mil. Heineken Taps Berlin Cameron

BOSTON Heineken USA today said it tapped Berlin Cameron United as lead agency on its Heineken Lager and Heineken Premium Light brands, bringing to a conclusion a drawn-out review process that began last June.

WPP Group’s Berlin Cameron in New York was the last contender standing in the contest for the estimated $80 million assignment following the withdrawal of independent Wieden + Kennedy yesterday. Wieden, pitching from its headquarters in Portland, Ore., cited “strategic differences” in explaining its decision to exit.

Berlin Cameron was already the incumbent on HPL, which it landed in December 2005 and launched in March 2006.

Publicis USA’s New York office had handled Heineken and Amstel Light since 2003 and was cut from an earlier round of the current review in December.

“Throughout the review process, Berlin Cameron brought to their work a deep understanding of the Heineken brand together with an exciting and powerful vision of how it should be brought to life creatively,” said Ken Kunze, client CMO, in a statement. “We enjoyed tremendous success and chemistry with them on the Heineken Premium Light launch and they consistently carried that passion, energy and creativity into their thinking for both Heineken Lager and Heineken Premium Light during the review.”

Ewen Cameron, agency CEO, said, “Heineken is an iconic brand and we look forward to building upon the success we have had together on Heineken Premium Light and to bringing our unique creative approach to Heineken Lager, the gold standard in quality and class in the beer category.”

Wieden and Berlin Cameron made what were to be final presentations to the White Plains, N.Y., client in mid-January. A decision was expected shortly thereafter but none was forthcoming. The client earlier this month asked both agencies to present another round of work. Those pitches were set for March 13, per sources.

Pile and Co., the Boston-based consulting firm, managed the review process for Heineken.