Boots has tasked Ogilvy & Mather with creative duties in the UK a week after owner Walgreen Boots Alliance pulled all its global its marketing and media responsibilities into WPP.
The appointment signals the end of the UK retailer’s 13-year relationship with Mother as Boots’ former senior marketer and current managing director Elizabeth Fagan puts integration front and centre of her plan for the business.
She became the first woman to head the retailer's UK operation when she took the role last summer and will no doubt play a key role alongside Helen Jeremiah, director of customer strategy and communications, in how they get the most from a tighter agency structure. What media agency fits into this structure is yet to be determined but the retailer’s decision to trust WPP with all its marketing suggests it buys into the idea of “horizontality”, what the group’s boss Sir Martin Sorrell explains as people in different units and with different competencies working together through client teams and country and regional managers.
Indeed, a dedicated group of staffers dubbed “Team WBA” will handle the account out of hub offices in New York, Chicago and London.
Annette King, chief executive at Ogilvy & Mather Group UK, said: “I’m delighted we are part of the bespoke WBA team to support the future needs of its businesses and brands, including the Boots business in the UK. This is such an exciting win for us and such an iconic piece of business and one that we will make the very most of.”
The switch comes less than a year after Boots recalibrated its marketing to pursue what it described at the time was “a new communications direction”. While no detail has been shared on what creative direction it will pursue with Ogilvy, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the brand take another turn given the scale of change it is going through to overhaul how its advertising and media work in tandem.
Despite the change, Mother presided over some of the most memorable campaigns for the retailer including a series of ads that were soundtracked to the ‘Hear come the Girls’ tune (see above) which ran for five years as well as its more recent health and wellbeing push.