If you go down to the drugstore soon, you're sure of a big surprise -- and it won't be Teddy Bears! At least that's the hope of Procter & Gamble for consumers of its healthcare and beauty brands.

The world's largest advertiser is intent on upping return on investment and profitability by overhauling and consolidating instore retail marketing with the help of specialist agency teams.

Pitching for the lucrative P&G contract are Interpublic's Draft, Publicis' Frankel, a Grey Global team and instore specialist ThompsonMurray, a new member of Saatchi & Saatchi's empire. Estimates place the contract fee as high as $60 million (€48.7m; £32.6m).

P&G spends an estimated $1.6 billion a year on retail marketing, and the challenge for the chosen agency will be to improve P&G's "first moment of truth" with its consumers.

This seminal instant has become of prime importance for the company, as emphasised recently by ceo A G Lafley and dutifully echoed by global marketing officer Jim Stengel's vision of design importance in a retail experience. Stengel will oversee the retail-marketing agency pitch process.

The winner will handle package design, point-of-purchase, collateral and other instore communication for brands such as Vick from the health and welfare product list, and Pantene or Clairol from the personal and beauty products line. Advertising assignments will not be affected by the decision.

And if P&G likes what it sees, the pilot scheme may become a full-scale operation, extending into other product sections such as House and Home, or Baby and Family.

With agency briefings planned for this week, a decision is expected at the end of the summer. Neither P&G nor any of the agencies involved were available to reveal any details.

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