Spending for Product Launch Estimated at $40 Million

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NEW YORK ( -- Two months after losing Coca-Cola Co.'s $150 million flagship Coke brand in North America and the $200 million global branding business for Samsung, Berlin Cameron United, New York, has won a product launch from beer importer Heineken USA.
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The agency won the assignment for Heineken Premium Light by besting Publicis Groupe’s Fallon and sibling Publicis USA in a review. The White Plains, N.Y.-based marketer said Berlin Cameron United will develop creative for the launch, which will include TV, print, radio, Internet and out-of-home advertising.

Heineken Premium Light, which has fewer calories and carbohydrates than regular Heineken, is set to roll out nationally in March.

$40 million estimate
The marketer did not comment on spending, but some reports put the beer brand's outlay at $40 million. Publicis' MediaVest handles media buying and planning for Heineken brands.

Light beers in the U.S. are a growth segment in the overall beer category. According to trade publication Beer Marketer’s Insights, four of the five top-selling brands in 2004 were light beers. Bud Light, Anheuser-Busch’s brand extension of Budweiser, was the top-selling beer, Miller Brewing Co.'s Miller Lite was No. 3, and Coors Brewing Co.'s Coors Light and Anheuser-Busch’s Natural Light follow. Budweiser is the No. 2 beer. “Light beers have done well for domestic brewers,” said Eric Shepard, executive editor of Beer Marketer’s Insights.

Fewer imported light beers
In contrast to domestic brewers, importers have not registered hands-down success with light brews. Some, such as Amstel Light (also imported by Heineken in the U.S.) and Corona Light, have strong followings domestically. But overall “light beers were less than 10% of the imported beer market in the U.S. in 2004, whereas they were half or more of the domestic market,” Mr. Shepard noted. The upshot: Either light imports are an undeveloped market or the lack of market penetration reflects weak consumer demand. ”It is an opportunity or a challenge,” Mr. Shepard said.

Heineken in May said that with Amstel Light and the launch of Premium Light, it is creating a subcategory it calls “luxury light,” which offers high-quality taste and a premium cachet.

Summer test marketing
Throughout the summer and fall, Heineken test-marketed Premium Light in Providence, R.I.; Tampa; Phoenix and Dallas. Competitors include Beck’s Premier Light, on shelves since March, Grolsch Light Lager, Corona Light and Amstel Light.

Berlin Cameron United, led by Chairman-CEO Andy Berlin, is part of WPP Group's Voluntarily United Group of Creative Agencies. It was created in late 2004 and includes nine offices around the world. Earlier in December, the group won a project to handle Procter & Gamble Co. fragrance brands Escada and Montblanc. United’s New York, Madrid and Buenos Aires offices will work on Escada. The Buenos Aires, Madrid and Paris offices will handle Montblanc.

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