Boots to stage pitch in consumer revamp

Boots the Chemist is to overhaul its consumer agency roster, reducing it from seven project agencies to 'one or two' retained advisers.

Boots head of PR Janis Churton described the retailer's current model, by which it uses agencies solely on projects, as ‘unsustainable and potentially confusing to journalists'.

A pitch process, being run through agency search and selection consultancy AAR, is planned. Its head of PR, Alex Young, described the contract up for grabs as a ‘substantial and very prestigious piece of business'.

Timings for the pitches have yet to be finalised, but AAR plans to conclude the review in February.

The tendered business involves the promotion of Boots' consumer health, beauty and lifestyle lines, and is thought to carry an annual budget of at least £1m.

Boots currently works  with Hill & Knowlton; ModusDowalWalker; Lee Publicity; The Communications Store; The Ideas Network; Sweet PR; and Tiger White PR. Weber Shandwick also worked on a project for the retailer earlier this year.

Nottingham-based Churton said the move was ‘no reflection' on the agencies' work, and all will be considered for selection, although none is guaranteed a place on the pitch shortlist.

Boots the Chemist is the retail arm of Alliance Boots -  the group created this summer after the merger of Boots with Alliance Unichem.

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