Heineken to relaunch as rival beers gain ground

Whitbread is relaunching Heineken lager with new packaging and a generic advertising campaign for the brand through Lowe Howard-Spink.

The new pack designs will apply to the whole Heineken range – the standard lager Heineken Cold Filtered, the Heineken Export can and the Export bottle. A supporting advertising campaign is expected to break next week.

The relaunch comes as Whitbread attempts to give Heineken a stronger positioning, and in response to aggressive marketing activity by rival brands such as Carling and Carlsberg. Heineken Cold Filtered has take-home sales of about 63m, according to Nielsen, and is the fourth top selling beer brand. But Heineken Export does not feature in the ten top sellers.

At the same time, the brand’s Dutch parent is launching a worldwide promotion for Heineken, linked to the film Lethal Weapon 4, which stars Mel Gibson and Danny Glover. The beer is featured in the film through product placement and there will be a wide range of promotions with Planet Hollywood in international markets. Individual countries will decide how they exploit the tie-up. It is thought that the link-up will not be as big in the UK as in the US, as Whitbread will not wish to confuse the promotion with relaunch activity.

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