Heineken Moves to Consolidate Global Media Duties

Company Spends Over $350 Million in Worldwide Measured Media

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Heineken is consolidating global media planning and buying at one agency, and is pitting roster shops Publicis Groupe 's Starcom MediaVest and WPP's MindShare against each other in a review that will be completed by mid 2012, the brewer said today.

The move follows other recent global consolidation efforts by Amsterdam-based Heineken, such as streamlining procurement and appointing independent shop Wieden & Kennedy as global creative agency for the its flagship Heineken brand.

"We have the opportunity to leverage the benefits of our global scale to achieve efficiencies and quality improvements in our media buying," said Alexis Nasard, Heineken's chief commercial officer. "The ultimate goal is to improve our media performance through better strategy, planning and execution, while maintaining the absolute requirement for stand-out brand communication in all channels we choose to focus and operate in.''

While the brewer now works with both agencies in the majority of its regions, U.S. media and planning is handled by MediaVest. The review opens the door for MindShare to win a major beer account in the U.S, which, if successful, would be a major win for new Mindshare North America CEO Antony Young. He joined last month from the smaller Publicis shop Optimedia, replacing Phil Cowdell, who took on a more global leadership role and will likely play a role in this review.

Heineken USA, the brewer's U.S. importer, spent $124 million on measured media last year across its brands, which include Heineken and Heineken Light, Dos Equis, Amstel, Tecate and Newcastle.

"Similar to our global marketing approach for brand Heineken ... Heineken USA will be included in the scope for a new global media agency," said U.S. spokeswoman Tara Carraro. "This is part of a larger strategy to leverage our global scale and improve our effectiveness and efficiency as a company."

The chosen agency's first task will be to focus on Heineken's top 15 markets, which include the Netherlands, U.S., U.K., Russia, Spain, Mexico and Brazil and represent 85% of the brewer's media spend. The company spent $351 million on measured media worldwide in 2009, according to the latest data available from the Ad Age DataCenter.

Other global moves include the creation last year of a Global Business Services organization, which is focused on "the most effective and efficient delivery of purchasing and business process and technology services across the company."

Contributing: Alexandra Bruell

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