Heineken Contacts Shops Regarding Amstel Creative

NEW YORK Heineken USA execs contacted at least two shops other than its lead agency, Publicis, to discuss creative ad ideas on its estimated $20 million Amstel Light brand, according to sources. In the past month, the White Plains, N.Y., client called Bartle Bogle Hegarty (49 percent owned by Publicis Groupe) and independent StrawberryFrog, both New York, sources said. Amstel Light brand manager Willem van der Hoeven said through a representative last week, “Publicis continues to be our agency of record for Amstel Light.” Sources said, however, that Publicis this month sold new Amstel Light work to Heineken USA executives. Another source said BBH would not pursue Amstel Light because the agency handles some Diageo brands, considered an “emotional conflict” with beer. Publicis’ Publicis in New York has handled the estimated $70 million U.S. Heineken brand account and its Amstel Light beer since 2003.

BBDO Cites ‘Cost Efficiency’ for Up to 200 Layoffs in Detroit

CHICAGO Citing a “reorganization designed to improve cost efficiency and effectiveness,” Omnicom’s BBDO confirmed it was eliminating positions in its Detroit office, which handles DaimlerChrysler business. While the agency declined to give numbers, sources said as many as 200 positions, or about 11 percent of the office’s 1,800-person staff, could be eliminated. The cuts were expected to affect all functions at BBDO Detroit, but not other operations working on the business, such as PHD or Organic. The office is restructuring due to cost-cutting by its core client and an effort to move further creative oversight on the account to BBDO’s New York headquarters and its creative chief, David Lubars, sources said. The office handles DaimlerChrysler’s Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep brands, as well as related dealer work on those lines. DaimlerChrysler spent $1.3 billion on ads from January to November 2005.

Census Officials Seek Feedback To Structure RFP for 2010 Work

WASHINGTON As it gears up for the 2010 census, the U.S. Census Bureau is asking the ad industry to provide info on how advertising, research methods and the media landscape have changed since the 2000 census. Officials said at a meeting in Washington last week that they will use the feedback to structure an RFP for an integrated campaign, with a budget that will likely exceed the $165 million spent on work for the 2000 census by Young & Rubicam, New York. At the meeting were reps from Arnold, Boston; the New York and Atlanta offices of BBDO; Campbell-Ewald, Warren, Mich.; Leo Burnett, Chicago; and New York-based JWT, Ogilvy & Mather and Y&R, among others. Census officials said they hope to award all contracts by June 2007.

Finalists on $200 Mil. Orange Pitch on Thursday, Friday

NEW YORK The three finalists for the estimated $200 million pan-European account for French-owned wireless telecom Orange will make presentations this week, sources said. The London and Paris offices of roster shop Havas’ Euro RSCG, Omnicom’s TBWA Paris and Publicis’ Fallon London with Marcel in Paris will all present twice to the client in Paris on Thursday and Friday, sources said. The first presentations on Thursday involve Orange’s B2B account. Friday pitches will focus on the main ad business, sources said. About 52 client executives will attend the presentations. A decision is expected in early March. The account is currently shared by various agencies in Europe.

Agencies Pleased With Nielsen Out-of-Home Addition

NEW YORK Media agency research execs last week reacted positively to Nielsen Media Research’s plan to include out-of-home viewers in its national People Meter ratings sample, by measuring for the first time viewing by college students beginning in early 2007. It will include TV viewing in college dorms, fraternity and sorority houses and off-campus housing. The move comes after a two-year pilot program sponsored by Nielsen, owned by Adweek parent VNU, and TV network clients, including CBS, TBS and ESPN. “It will make it easier to quantify who the total audience is,” said Lyle Schwartz, vp, director of research and marketplace analysis at Mediaedge:cia.

CHICAGO Procter & Gamble’s Gilette division planned to attempt the world’s largest flip card audience participation program during NBC’s telecast of the Daytona 500 on Sunday. In a promotion for its new Fusion razor, the company sought to distribute cards to the 118,000 fans in attendance at the event. During the singing of the national anthem, the cards would display a patriotic image, and then were flipped over to show the Fusion logo. The previous largest flip card effort was in 2002, when 102,000 people used flip cards at the Richmond International Speedway in Richmond, Va.

NBC’s NHL Stats Dip From ABC’s Line Change in ’04

NEW YORK National Hockey League telecasts on NBC—through four, three-game regionalized Saturday afternoon telecasts—are averaging a 1.1, down 21 percent from the comparable period when the NHL was last telecast on a broadcast network (ABC, in 2004), according to Nielsen Media Research. The NHL’s household ratings on OLN is 0.2, averaging only 126,000 viewers a night—61 percent less than comparable ratings, and about 300,000 fewer viewers than when the NHL was on ESPN during the ’03-’04 season. Industry sources said while NHL officials realize it will take OLN time to grow its audience, there is concern that NBC did not give enough promotional support to the NHL telecasts, because it was concentrating on promoting the Olympics. But Mike McCarley, vp for sports communications at NBC, said, “Our promotion of the NHL has been substantial and the promotion will ramp up even more following the Olympics as we move closer to the [NHL] playoffs.”