Heineken Eyes 2 Finalists

NEW YORK Heineken USA has named two finalists, Berlin Cameron United and Wieden + Kennedy, in the review of creative chores on its Heineken and Heineken Premium Light brands.

The client late Friday confirmed the cut to Berlin Cameron and W+K, first reported earlier in the day by Adweek Online.

Combined media spending for the work in play is approximately $80 million.

Client executives heard pitches on Monday and Tuesday from five contenders.

Out of contention are: WPP Group’s Ogilvy & Mather and Publicis Groupe’s Publicis, both in New York, and independent The Richards Group in Dallas.

Gill Duff, CEO at Publicis in New York, said, “The client has told us that they are cutting it to two agencies from the five—and that we will not be going forward. We are not happy with the client’s decision. But, they want a change. We are glad to have this resolved so that our team can move on, which we will do.” (Publicis has handled Heineken and Amstel Light since 2003. The latter brand is not part of the review.)

Other agency officials either declined comment or could not be reached.

Final presentations are set for mid-January, sources said.

WPP’s Berlin Cameron in New York is the incumbent on Heineken Premium Light and landed the account in late 2005. The brand launched in March this year.

Independent W+K in Portland, Ore., had handled Miller High Life for about a decade before the brand shifted to Crispin Porter + Bogusky in Miami [Adweek Online, Sept. 22].

Consultancy Pile and Co. in Boston is managing the review.

This summer, executives at Heineken’s Amsterdam, the Netherlands, headquarters awarded lead creative duties on the Heineken brand in overseas markets to independent London-based startup The Red Brick Road [Adweek Online, July 7].

That agency’s co-founder, Frank Lowe, was closely associated with Heineken at his former shop, IPG’s Lowe. StrawberryFrog in Amsterdam was the incumbent on Heineken’s overseas ad efforts and participated in that review, sources said.

StrawberryFrog in New York, however, continues to handle projects for the client, including ads surrounding the brewer’s sponsorship of the James Bond movie Casino Royale.

Heineken has said Red Brick Road would be the “leading agency to develop the communications strategy and key advertising for the Heineken brand worldwide.”