Mother leads team to £32m Boots victory

A consortium led by Mother has won the £32m communications brief for Boots’ UK retail operation and brands after a closely fought battle against a WPP Group team led by incumbents J Walter Thompson and MindShare.

A consortium led by Mother has won the &£32m communications brief for Boots’ UK retail operation and brands after a closely fought battle against a WPP Group team led by incumbents J Walter Thompson and MindShare.

Consortia led by Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO and Publicis were removed from the shortlist last week, leading industry observers to speculate that Boots might split the business between JWT and Mother (MW last week).

Mother’s consortium included Naked, MediaCom, Craik Jones Watson Mitchell Voelkel, Cake, Saturday, Poke and Circus. So far only Mother, Naked and MediaCom have been appointed. They will take over the business on April 1.

The win has put a huge dent in WPP’s hold on Boots’ &£80m global communications account. Neither Boots Healthcare International (BHI), which includes brands such as Clearasil, Strepsils and Nurofen, nor the company’s retail interests outside the UK, Boots Retail International, are affected by the move. BHI is handled by McCann-Erickson and MindShare, and BRI is handled by JWT and MindShare.

Boots chief commercial director David Kneale says: “As we move into a new era of modernising our business, we are greatly excited by the opportunity to work with the Mother team, which has shown a real grasp of our current and future communication needs.”

The review has been a rollercoaster ride, with strategic marketing director Ann Francke calling the pitch, before the arrival of chief executive Richard Baker, only to find herself ousted in a restructure (MW October 30). The final decision on the pitch was made by a team led by Baker and Kneale, who was given responsibility for marketing following Francke’s departure.

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