WPP is facing yet another test of its mettle after Walgreens Boots Alliance confirmed it is reviewing its global advertising and marketing services account as part of a major digital transformation programme designed to boost what it calls “mass personalisation”.
The move comes just three years after WPP landed the business and set up a division called Team WBA to service the account. Despite denials, it also pulled the Advantage Card account out of Lida (now M&C Saatchi), after nearly a decade on the business. The loyalty scheme has been pursuing a digital-first strategy since last year.
Team WBA also works on advertising, media and PR, through offices in London, Chicago and New York, with Grey and MediaCom heading the dedicated unit. According to its annual report, the group spent $585m (£476m) on advertising and marketing in 2019.
A WBA spokeswoman said that WPP’s initial contract was coming to an end and that it is “standard procedure to do an RFP at the end of a contract”.
WPP has been invited to pitch, although the review is by invitation-only, although refused to comment on who else is involved.
She added: “[The review] is aimed at taking advantage of the rapid changes and evolution that WBA, the healthcare industry and the marketing and communications industries are all going through in order to create hyper-personalized customer experiences to better meet their needs.”
WBA’s global chief marketing officer Vineet Mehra said: “Consumer behaviour, and needs, are continually evolving and changing rapidly. We’re transforming our business across every consumer touch point – pharmacy, retail and digital/omni-channel– to provide a modern, differentiated retail experience to help meet these changing needs.
“Our ‘mass personalisation’ marketing strategy reaches customers more deeply and more personally, and one of the key enablers of this strategy is how we leverage our first-party data and pair it with martech capabilities to create a unique and personalised offer for customers.”
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