Netherlands-headquartered brewer Heineken has been something of an advertising trendsetter over the past three decades. Right now, however, the fingers of British TV executives are crossed in the hope that the brewer's trendsetting days are dead in the water.
For the latest move by the Dutch beer barony is to switch its entire £6.5 million ($11.5m; €9.6m) British TV advertising budget for 2006 out of the medium and into sponsorship and point-of-purchase promotions.
Explains Heineken's UK managing director Rob Marijnen: "The enormously cluttered environment in TV ads makes it difficult to make standout ads. It's also very expensive and it's questionable as to its effectiveness."
Of equal concern to Marijnen is the growing fragmentation of TV channels, making it "increasingly difficult" to reach Heineken's core 18-26 age group via the TV medium. He also cited the growing popularity of ad-skipping PVRs such as BSkyB's SkyPlus.
But the Heineken bell might not forever toll for British TV. Marijnen's door is closed but not locked: "I'm not saying it's farewell to TV for ever. We will look at it again, but for the time being we need to look at other avenues, in particular by creating more visibility for the brand at the point of purchase."
Data sourced from The Times Online (UK); additional content by WARC staff