By Hannah Bowler | Journalist

June 6, 2022 | 4 min read

The Drum catches up with Boots’ marketing boss Pete Markey who lays out his ambition to take the pharmacy chain from being a retailer consumers take for granted to a brand they care about.

Chief marketing officer Pete Markey has ditched Boots’ decade-old ‘Let’s feel good’ tagline for a new brand platform, ‘Boots with you. For life’.

Markey, who joined Boots in February 2021, says the old slogan served the brand well, but that it doesn’t acknowledge those harder life moments.

“When you’ve been through a pandemic, it’s hard to tell people ‘let’s feel good’ when maybe they don’t want to feel good,” he says.

Instead, with its new brand positioning, Markey says the aim is to communicate that “Boots is there for you through those difficult moments“.

“We are working with people through the journey of life, through the highs and lows, and it’s more than feeling good – it’s about supporting people and giving them the help and services, they need.”

He adds: “Whether you are shopping for a new beauty product or whether you are battling cancer and seeking advice from our pharmacists, Boots is there.”

‘Boots with you. For life’ feeds into Markey’s wider strategy to get people to “care even more about the Boots brand”.

He says Boots has always had a consistent customer base and 90% brand awareness. “People know us and know we are a good bunch of people that do good things. But our job isn’t to remind people we are there, it is to explain to customers we have products, services and solutions to help them.

“I don’t want to do any campaigns that make customers say: ‘Good old Boots’. I want people to say: ‘Oh, wow, Boots!’. It’s the Boots you know but unexpected.”

The new brand positioning will run throughout Boots’ marketing as well as its internal communications. Markey will also start integrating Boots’ internal purpose-driven activities into its consumer marketing, “bringing more of what as the core of the business center stage”. He references a recent hygiene poverty fundraising drive with The Mirror, which Markey then spun out into a Boots marketing campaign.

Markey is speaking to The Drum ahead of dropping Boots’ ‘Summer Better be Ready’ campaign, its first seasonal ad to feature the new strapline. The spot lands tonight (June 6) during the series eight opener of ITV’s Love Island, which Boots sponsors.

The 60-second film was created in collaboration with The Pharm/VMLY&R and features vignettes of people getting ready for summer, backed by a remixed version of The Delfonics’ Ready Or Not, produced by Al Shuck.

The idea was to flip the traditional ‘get yourself ready for summer’ messaging and emphasize the momentum going into summer 2022. “That feeling that summer better be ready for us,” as Markey puts it.

The spot was directed by Jake Nava, who previously worked on music videos for Beyonce and Arctic Monkeys.

Boots’ summer campaign will run across TV, VOD and cinema, supported by print, OOH, radio and social. Boots will also leverage reactive, contextual display advertising with Mail Metro Media and targeted out-of-home ads.

Cautious not to ignore the living cost crisis, Markey says it was a delicate balance of embracing summer but not overlooking the struggles consumers are going through. To mitigate this, the spot has a series of cutdowns with offers and promotions attached.

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