Heineken reviews its global media arrangements

Heineken, the Dutch brewer, is conducting a review of its global media planning and buying account.

The beer company, which uses agencies on a market-by-market basis, is considering consolidating the £40 million business into one network.

MindShare currently handles the business in the UK. Heineken spent £3 million on UK advertising during 2005, according to Nielsen Media Research.

The international review is said to be at an early stage and it is unclear which agencies will pitch for the business.

Heineken uses agencies including Starcom MediaVest in other markets. Publicis Groupe handles planning and buying in the US.

Peter van Campen, the director of group commerce at Heineken, is leading the pitch from the brewer's headquarters in Amsterdam.

Heineken has recently cut back on its UK TV advertising as it focuses its marketing budgets on sponsorship of the Champions League football tournament and rugby's Heineken Cup.

Heineken's media arrangements have allowed it to take a local approach to planning and buying. However, it is thought that an increased focus on global ad campaigns and on pan-regional sponsorship activity such as the Champions League deal has reduced the need for hiring agencies on a country-by-country basis.

Heineken remains a family-owned independent business. It has created several sub-brands, but its focus remains on Heineken and its sister lager brand Amstel.

Volume sales of Heineken in the premium beer market grew by 4.5 per cent in 2005, maintaining Heineken's status as the leading international premium beer. Volume sales in the US fell by 0.3 per cent but are expected to be boosted by this year's launch of Heineken Premium Light.

The brewer is completing a global cost-saving programme, expected to deliver annual savings in the region of EUR200 million.