Lida on alert as Boots owner hands account to WPP

BootsThe bosses at Boots’ UK direct marketing agency Lida will be going into overdrive following news that its owner – Walgreens Boots Alliance – has appointed a team of WPP agencies to handle creative and digital advertising, as well as media planning and buying.

Lida has handled the retailer’s CRM and marketing for the Advantage Card loyalty scheme since November 2008, picking it up from the now defunct Craik Jones.
It is understood that the strength of this relationship even opened the door for parent agency M&C Saatchi to scoop extra business by landing the digital account in 2013.

While the agency insists the CRM account is not affected by the WPP appointment, boss Sir Martin Sorrell will no doubt be gunning to add the loyalty business to the deal in the future.

Walgreens Boots Alliance was formed in 2014 after Walgreens purchased the 55% stake in Switzerland-based Alliance Boots that it did not already own. Walgreens had previously purchased 45% of the company in 2012 with an option to purchase the remaining shares within three years.

WPP has formed the ‘Team WBA” which will work on traditional and digital advertising, media and PR, through offices in London, Chicago and New York.

Stefano Pessina, executive vice chairman and chief executive of Walgreens Boots Alliance, said: “We are very pleased to confirm this new partnership with WPP and the creation of Team WBA.

“We have grown rapidly, so too have our marketing and communications needs, and this multi-dimensional model and new way of working will better support our vision for the company and future growth plans. This more integrated way of working will help us to strengthen brand recognition, while unlocking potential synergies, creating increased efficiencies and helping streamline our activities globally.”

The decision follows a review process that began in early 2016.

WPP chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell said: “We look forward to partnering with Walgreens Boots Alliance to help further enhance what are already iconic brands in the health and wellbeing category.

“Team WBA will be a custom solution that draws together the talent and resources from across WPP to develop effective communications that will differentiate WBA and drive results.”

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