Boots looks at changes to agency arrangements

Speculation has been mounting that Boots is unhappy with its agency roster and could change it by the end of the year if the current agencies do not come up to scratch. Boots’ integrated advertising account is worth &£90m.

For months, media strategy agency Naked has been the subject of these rumours. But speculation has recently turned to advertising agency Mother, which has yet to produce a branding campaign for the retailer despite having been appointed to the account in 2003 (MW December 11, 2003). Mother has instead produced tactical work including campaigns for Soltan and No7, as well as the retailer’s Christmas campaign starring Harry Hill.

The other main agency on Boots’ roster is media buying agency MediaCom.

All three agencies deny that their relationship with the retailer is under pressure. These agencies originally pitched as part of a consortium that also included Craik Jones Watson Mitchell Voelkel, Saturday, Poke, Cake and Circus. But industry sources believe that changes could be made to the roster this summer.

It is understood that Publicis, Omnicom and WPP Group have all held talks with Boots since the account was last reviewed. WPP’s J Walter Thompson and MindShare previously held the advertising and media accounts respectively.

Boots chief executive Richard Baker is keen to boost sales at the retailer and has introduced new lines and initiatives to do so. The company’s latest trading statement, covering the final quarter of 2004, showed a 2.6 per cent increase in like-for-like sales.

Boots was unavailable for comment as Marketing Week went to press.

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