Dutch brewer Heineken is to switch its $50–$60 million US account – reportedly without review – to a new shop after firing Lowe, incumbent since 1998.

Hotly tipped to pick up the business is D’Arcy, amid several departures to the agency from Lowe and rumours of more to come.

Last week Lowe’s head of broadcast production Bob Nelson announced he was making the shift in March. At D’Arcy he will team up with creative chief Lee Garfinkel, another former Lowe executive and one of the team behind Heineken’s award-winning ‘It’s all about the beer’ TV campaign.

Not only that, last November Michael Silver, account director on Heineken at Lowe, was rumoured to be offering his services – and the brewer’s account – to other agencies [WAMN: 12-Nov-01]. Heading the list of potential new employers for the adman at that time was D’Arcy, and more recent gossip suggests he will indeed make the switch.

Silver – a friend of Heineken marketing director Steve Davis – has been closely involved with the brewer’s account since he was at Wells BDDP, and was central to its move to Lowe in 1998.

However, Nelson, Garfinkel and Silver are reportedly bound by non-compete clauses in their contracts with Lowe’s parent Interpublic Group. A switch of the account to D’Arcy could raise the possibility of legal action – something IPG was more than willing to contemplate in similar circumstances after it lost PepsiCo business last year [WAMN: 05-Oct-01].

Unsurprisingly, nobody at Lowe, D’Arcy or Heineken was available for comment.

News source: MediaWeek.com (US)