Heineken UK has shortlisted a small number of agencies after a wider pitch. The retained brief covers public affairs, overseen by Burson-Marsteller since early 2010, is thought to include a significant new PR element.
One agency source said that a part of the work, which could be divided between more than one agency, focused on the “positive aspects” of Heineken’s contribution to the UK.
“It wants to make quite a big deal out of the fact that they are a responsible company, which, for example, doesn’t make super strength ciders. It also wants to highlight the contribution Heineken makes in terms of employment and the economy.”
Last month Heineken UK reported a three per cent drop in turnover to £1.55bn but grew its share of the beer market.
This summer, the brewing industry was subject to a government U-turn as plans to introduce minimum pricing for alcohol were put on hold amid fears of the impact on responsible drinkers.
There have also been continuing calls to ban alcohol advertising at and sponsorship of music and sporting events, with Alcohol Concern pressing for the move.
Heineken UK, which declined to comment, is a part of Heineken, the largest brewer in Europe and the third largest brewer in the world.
Burson-Marsteller declined to comment.