Cannes 2013

Heineken CEO Looks at Future Global Brands Like Sol and Tiger

t Cannes Seminar, Brewer's Chief Commercial Officer Wins Popularity By Dismissing Tests

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Heineken's marketing head sees a future for traditional advertising and the 30" spot.

"I"ll never believe the video spot is dead," Alexis Nasard, chief commercial officer of Heineken, said in a session hosted by Maurice Levy, chairman-CEO of Publicis Groupe, at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. "It may be seen through different [screens] but it's the media that reaches the senses most effectively."

"There are lots of fads and vanity," he said. "[People say] we're going to stop traditional advertising and use only digital. I don't believe it. The separation between traditional and digital is artificial. People consume more media, TV, iPad, they're on their phones."

Mr. Nasard said he holds the "unorthodox view" that the most important relationship is between the client and the creatives. He was also dismissive of "quantifying yourself to death" with too much testing.

"We decide what is creative, and there's not a test in the world that will answer that," he said to applause from the audience, leading Mr. Levy to jovially accuse him of "telling lies to the crowd" to be popular.

Heineken, the biggest premium beer brand in the world, accounts for about 16% or 17% of the whole company's sales, said Jean-Francois van Boxmeer, CEO and chairman of Heineken's executive board. The two goals, he said, are to build that global brand and, in key markets, acquire and develop a portfolio of strong local and regional brands like Star in Nigeria and Tiger in Asia that will make Heineken the clear No. 1 or No. 2.

"It took us 140 years go build a global brand like Heineken," Mr. van Boxmeer said. "Even in this digital age, it takes you a couple decades."

The company's latest move is to buy out its joint-venture partner since 1935 in Singapore-based Asia Pacific Breweries, which now makes Tiger beer in breweries in 14 countries in Asia.

"We want to do more with Tiger, not only in Asia, but to see if one day we can make it one of [our] global brands," he said.

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