Warning Bells Ring at WPP Over $125m Global Boots Biz

12 September 2003

Boots Group – not only the dominant UK retailer in the healthcare, cosmetics and toiletries sector, but also a world force in pharmaceuticals – has sent a clear signal to WPP Group that its $125 million (€111.50m; £78.45m) global account may be at risk.

The exclusive intercontinental deal, personally negotiated some years back by Sir Martin Sorrell, was WPP’s first signing at holding company level. But a review of the $70m UK account is now under way, instigated by Anne Francke, hired by Boots from Masterfoods ten months ago as director of strategic marketing and development.

The pharma giant’s retail arm has shortlisted Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO (Omnicom), Publicis Worldwide and independent hotshop Mother to pitch alongside incumbent J Walter Thompson in London., The international business, also serviced by JWT, is not at present under review.

But very definitely up for grabs is Boots’ media planning and buying account. JWT has been invited to fend-off a number of unidentified contenders.

Data sourced from: AdAgeGlobal.com; additional content by WARC staff