- Heineken is changing up its agency relationships, expanding deals with Publicis Groupe to take on creative work in a new business unit called Le Pub, integrating creative, data and brand experiences for the beer brand, according to an announcement.
- Le Pub will combine an array of Publicis Groupe teams from Milan and Amsterdam, merging creativity with data and technology from Epsilon and Publicis Sapient. Heineken also named Dentsu's Red Star its sole media agency of record.
- Heineken officials cited the operational shifts made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic as inspiration for the new model, which begins on Jan. 1. The expanded agency relationships arrive as the beer company has built up its in-house team over the past few years.
The agency shakeup arrives as the beer company has built up its in-house marketing team over the past few years. Bram Westenbrink, the brand's global senior director, said the new model would help the company move quickly to remain relevant for consumers and their evolving behaviors and preferences.
"The new partnership with Le Pub is based on providing localized creativity at a global scale with speed," Westenbrink said in a statement. "The partnership with Publicis will help us to drive growth, giving Heineken a sustainable competitive advantage."
The shift also showcases how Publicis Groupe is deploying the Epsilon PeopleCloud marketing platform. The suite of products, which personalizes consumer interactions and journeys, has already been embedded for more than half of the holding company's top 30 accounts, including Kraft Heinz and McDonald's. Publicis Groupe acquired Epsilon in July 2019 for $4.4 billion. Since then, the company has won new business from companies such as Novartis, Disney, Kraft Heinz and Mondelez, per the holding company. Chairman and CEO Arthur Sadoun pointed to this growth as proof the acquisition is paying off.
"Facing uncertainty, clients are looking to create immediate business impact with scarce resources. They need to do more with less and are looking for trusted partners to help them deliver true personalization," Saudon told Marketing Technology Insights. "With Epsilon at the center of the Groupe, we are uniquely positioned to help clients build first-party data and take back control of their customer relationships."
Heineken in 2019 really started to flesh out its in-house creative team and revamping marketing, which included forgoing traditional demographics based on age and gender, and opting for behavioral targets and psychographics that better align with the modern beer drinker.