Boots owner retains WPP for global data-driven brief

boots_this_one2WPP global boss Mark Read can breathe a heavy sigh of relief after Walgreens Boots Alliance decided to retain his agency group as its global marketing and communications partner, with a brief to implement an integrated mass-personalisation marketing strategy.

WPP has handled the account since 2017 and set up a division called Team WBA to service the business. It also scooped the Advantage Card brief out of Lida (now M&C Saatchi), after nearly a decade; the loyalty scheme has been pursuing a digital-first strategy since last year.

According to WBA’s annual report, the group spent $585m (£476m) on advertising and marketing in 2019.

Following the six-month review, launched in May, WBA and WPP will now extend their relationship until the end of 2022, with an option to further extend until the end of 2024.

At the heart of the new partnership model is a data and technology solution that will pair WBA’s rich first-party data set with WPP’s martech capabilities.

WPP will work with WBA on the company’s strategic partnership with Microsoft and Adobe to create personalised, omnichannel healthcare and shopping experiences at scale.

Walgreens Boots Alliance executive vice chairman and CEO Stefano Pessina said: “WBA is transforming our business across every consumer touch point – pharmacy, retail and digital – to provide a modern, differentiated customer experience. We are delighted to continue our partnership with WPP to leverage their creative skills, technology and data insights, as we shape the future of our business together.”

Read added: “We are proud to have been entrusted with such an important partnership for Walgreens Boots Alliance and its iconic brands. WBA is at the forefront of the industry in utilising data to provide enriched, personalised customer experiences. We look forward to working very closely with WBA on the company’s ongoing transformation.”

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