Sorrell’s ‘Team WBA’ clinches Walgreens Boots

Sir Martin Sorrell’s WPP has landed Walgreens Boots Alliance’s $600m global ad budget; a deal brokered in the first place, it seems, by Sorrell at Davos with top Walgreens Boots management. Sorrell’s pitch is believed to have centred on cost savings of up to $100m.

Omnicon currently handles the media with Mother handling creative in the UK and Omnicom’s GSD&M on duty in the US.

$100m is not to be sneezed at but it’s tough on Mother which has handled UK-based Boots since 2003. It has long known that Boots was vulnerable following its acquisition by US based giant Walgreens in 2014. Walgreens Boots currently has sales of over $100bn. WPP is forming a ‘Team WBA’ (the ‘A’ being for Alliance) to handle the business from the US and London.

Walgreens Boots Alliance CEO Stefano Pessina says: “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.”

This is an updated version of an earlier story

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.