OMD takes Halfords £8m media without a competitive pitch

OMD has been reunited with the £8 million Halfords media account after a break of nearly two years.

Halfords, which was previously handled by MindShare, moved its account back into OMD after the car parts and bike accessories chain's purchase by the venture capitalist CVC Capital Partners from its parent company, Boots.

Halfords was originally expected to hold a competitive pitch but cancelled this and handed its business to OMD on the basis of an initial presentation and previous work. The creative account handled by Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO is not affected.

Boots controversially realigned its entire £80 million global media and creative account into WPP in October 2000, following an agreement between the WPP group chief executive, Sir Martin Sorrell, and Boots' chief executive, Steve Russell.

But Boots decided in April that it wanted to concentrate on its core health and beauty business following a disappointing set of sales and financial results, and put Halfords up for sale.

Russell blamed the poor weather, the World Cup and the Jubilee celebrations for hampering retail sales over the past quarter.

Recent advertising work has concentrated on repositioning Halfords as a modern, customer-focused business. Last month it unveiled a campaign through AMV using the line: "Halfords, start here, go anywhere."

Boots bought Halfords in 1989 as part of its ill-fated £900 million acquisition of the Ward White retail conglomerate. Boots sold the majority of the businesses, including the DIY chains Payless and Fads, in the 90s.

Halfords has 400 stores across the UK and employs 10,000 people.

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