Superdrug has hired Cohn and Wolfe as its retained PR agency, ending Lexis PR's eight-year retained consumer agency brief for the healthcare and beauty retailer.
But Lexis board director Tricia Beaumont explained that the consumer retainer effectively ended in 1998 - since then, Superdrug had been only spending 'sporadically' on projects. Beaumont said: 'We're pleased Superdrug is taking consumer PR seriously again, although we're sorry not to be handling this part of the account.'
Lexis will be working on projects until the end of the year, with C&W taking up its brief in February 2001. Lexis does however retain the Superdrug.com brief. The web site currently features health information, but will soon start selling on-line.
C&W's brief includes looking after store openings and support in Superdrug's key categories, with the healthcare team involved in providing strategic counsel to the healthcare side of the business. C&W director, Jill Rennie, heads the account.
The pitch included Lexis, the Red Consultancy and Jackie Cooper Public Relations - which Superdrug invited to pitch even though it has no healthcare division.
According to Superdrug marketing director Jo O'Connor, the relationship with Lexis had ended 'because we felt the time was right for fresh thinking'.
Superdrug is part of the Kingfisher Group, and has over 700 stores throughout the UK.