Boots adds media to creative review

Boots has confirmed that it is reviewing its £80 million advertising deal with WPP, as exclusively revealed in Campaign (10 July).

The review could end the arrangement brokered by the WPP group chief executive, Sir Martin Sorrell, and Boots' outgoing chief executive, Steve Russell, in 2000. Both J. Walter Thompson's creative and MindShare's media accounts face review.

It is understood that agencies including TBWA\London, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, Mother and J. Walter Thompson have been paired with media agencies and invited to present credentials to the director of strategic marketing and development, Anne Francke. Sources say a media auditor has been invited to assist in the media review.

A Boots spokesman would not confirm which agencies would be invited to pitch but said that a shortlist would be drawn up at the end of August.

He added that he expected incumbent agencies would be invited to repitch for the account.

Francke joined Boots in January from Masterfoods, replacing Barry Clarke who had been in the job for less than a year. Francke has been involved in some dramatic cost-cutting and refocusing on the company's core business.

Russell's attempts to diversify Boots into a broad health and lifestyle brand were curtailed with the closure of its Wellbeing Services arm, its joint venture with J Sainsbury and its Granada-run Wellbeing TV channel.

Richard Baker, Asda's chief operating officer, is joining Boots as Russell's replacement in September.

Boots is also looking at its customer relationship marketing, direct marketing and design accounts. The review does not extend to Boots Healthcare International's Crookes Healthcare business, which includes the Optrex, Strepsils and Clearasil brands.

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