Heineken Dismisses Lowe

NEW YORK– Heineken has dismissed Lowe, its agency since 1998, sources said.

The White Plains, N.Y. client does not plan to put its $50-60 million account into review, according to sources. Rather, a shift to another agency–most likely D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles–is expected.

The dismissal by the Dutch beer brewer comes after several personnel changes at Lowe in recent months [Adweek, Nov. 12, 2001]. The most recent was that of Bob Nelson, head of broadcast production, who left last week to join D’Arcy, effective in March.

Sources indicated that a shift to D’Arcy is likely because Nelson will be reuniting with agency creative chief, Lee Garfinkel, a former Lowe executive, who helped create award-winning TV commercials for the “It’s all about the beer” campaign.

Two months ago, Lowe’s worldwide account director on Heineken, Michael Silver, was said to be shopping the account to other agencies. Sources said he, too, will likely join D’Arcy. Silver has had a tight grip on the account since it was at Wells BDDP, and he was instrumental in moving Heineken from there to Lowe in 1998.

An account shift to D’Arcy could raise legal issues, sources said, because Garfinkel, Nelson and Silver all have strict non-compete clauses in their contracts with Interpublic Group, which owns Lowe.

Lowe recently produced 16 commercials for Heineken USA and Heineken Global for the Heineken and Amstel brands.

Lowe executives declined comment. D’Arcy and Heineken executives could not immediately be reached.