Will Boots’ pitch include design?

Industry sources claim this week that packaging and interiors work will fall into the pitch process now underway for Boots the Chemists’ £90m integrated account, despite the retailer’s denial that design rosters will be affected.

Four consortia, headed by ad agencies Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, J Walter Thompson, Publicis and Mother, are pitching for a raft of business, which industry sources suggest will encompass all aspects of design, including packaging, point-of-sale and promotional campaigns.

The implication is that Boots’ entire marketing spend will go through the successful consortium, with the ad agency becoming brand guardian and design work being handled by appropriate consortium partners.

A Boots the Chemists company statement says, ‘Boots is looking to [the ad agencies] to provide a fully integrated service to meet the needs of the business.

This will include the need to develop a holistic approach to the Boots brand, product brands (such as the Botanics range), the Advantage Card loyalty scheme, other media and in-store environment and promotions.’

When pressed on the status of design, a spokesman would only say ‘there is no change to the design roster, which includes packaging, at this stage.’

The ad agencies leading the consortia would not comment on which design groups are part of their team, with the exception of the JWT-led WPP Group incumbent, which lists The Partners and interiors specialist Virgile & Stone.

According to industry sources, the pitch process involves a series of ‘workshops’ across several different briefs and will be complete by the end of November. A decision is expected in January 2004.

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