Healthcare and pharmacy giant Walgreens Boots Alliance has tapped WPP to provide a full suite of global advertising and marketing services after a review that began early last year, the companies confirmed Tuesday.
WBA reported net advertising expenses of nearly $600 million in fiscal 2016 according to the company’s annual report for that year. The company was formed in late 2014 via the merger of Walgreens with Alliance Boots.
WPP will operate and develop multiple marketing and communications channels for WBA’s retail and wholesale businesses as well as its health and beauty product brands.
The holding company is assembling a dedicated unit, dubbed "Team WBA," that will provide services worldwide including traditional and digital advertising, media investment management, promotion and relationship marketing, public affairs, media relations and communications for the client. Specific agencies at WPP that will be contributing to the effort were not immediately identified.
Team WBA will have hub offices in Chicago, London and New York.
The client previously used many agencies for services around the world, including Omnicom’s OMD for media in the U.S. and sibling agency GSD&M for creative work.
Stefano Pessina, executive vice chairman and chief executive officer, Walgreens Boots Alliance, commented: “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 multidimensional 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.”
WPP CEO Martin Sorrell added: “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.”