Heineken Finalists Go Another Round

NEW YORK The two finalists in Heineken USA’s $80 million creative review have been asked to refine the work they presented last month, a company representative said today.

No date has been set for when WPP Group’s Berlin Cameron United in New York and independent Wieden + Kennedy in Portland, Ore., will go another round before the client, she said.

Both agencies made what were to be final presentations on Jan. 16, and a decision was expected that week.

But client executives are said to be split on which agency to select. Sources said some Amsterdam, Netherlands-based executives are leaning toward Wieden + Kennedy, whose Amsterdam office was once on the Heineken roster.

Others said Heineken’s U.S. executives wish to hire Berlin Cameron, whose work behind Heineken Premium Light helped the brand’s sales exceed expectations.

“We feel good about what we’ve seen from both agencies. But we don’t feel like either platform is in a place for us to make a decision,” said Tamara Moore, a rep for White Plains, N.Y.-based Heineken USA.

She declined to comment on whether client executives were at an impasse.

Moore said no date has yet been set for the agencies to present again.

The client, which has used Publicis here for its Heineken brand since 2003, cut the incumbent from the review in December. Berlin Cameron, which in late 2005 was awarded the new HPL business, created the HPL introductory campaign that broke in March 2006.

The client’s goal in the current review is to consolidate both accounts (with an estimated combined U.S. media spend of $80 million) at one shop.

Amstel Light, also handled by Publicis, will likely move to the winning agency as well, a source said.

Overseas, Heineken uses London-based Red Brick Road, founded by Frank Lowe, to handle it’s international advertising.

On Jan. 29, the client broke a new U.S. campaign for HPL from Berlin Cameron tagged “Irresistible.”

The work includes a 30-second spot that depicts the HPL bottle as a “diva-like” celebrity to the tune “Beautiful” by Snoop Dogg and Pharrell Williams.