Boots has consolidated its global advertising and marketing into the WPP network by moving its &£50m UK media buying business into MindShare and out of OMD UK. It has also put J Walter Thompson in charge of Boots branded advertising in an effort to aid the healthcare giant in its international expansion plans.
The agreement, which relates to a total spend of &£80m, means WPP agencies will now handle all advertising, media, consumer PR, market research and brand consultancy for Boots-branded products.
J Walter Thompson will run the entire advertising account, stripping Grey of the estimated &£6.5m UK opticians business. A Boots spokesman says McCann-Erickson has been axed from the retail international account, although McCann UK denies it has lost any work and says it only handles Boots Healthcare International brands which are not affected by the review.
The spokesman admits the deal also threatens St Luke’s hold on the &£7.5m beauty business – although these are not Boots-branded products – because WPP agencies will be considered for all accounts which come up for review.
OMD UK has worked on the Boots account for seven years, handling its centralised media planning and buying. Worth more than &£50m, it is set to increase to &£60m.
OMD UK managing director Paul Taylor says: “We are stunned. There was no precedent, no warning, no pitch and no invitation. It was a simple deal carried out at an extraordinarily senior level between Martin Sorrell [WPP chief executive] and Stephen Russell [Boots chief executive].
“It happened for global and strategic reasons and had nothing to do with our levels of service,” he adds.
Boots claims that the global agreement with WPP leaves it well placed to expand its offer in the international market for Wellbeing products and services, which include Boots Opticians, Boots the Chemist and dentistry.