DIARY: Boots to axe agencies and take PR in-house

Boots the Chemist plans to axe all its external PR consultancies, and will expand its in-house PR department in order to handle its entire product range.

Boots the Chemist plans to axe all its external PR consultancies, and

will expand its in-house PR department in order to handle its entire

product range.



The PR for cosmetics brands No7 and 17, vitamins, complementary

medicines and children’s clothing will move in-house from October,

leaving Boots with no retained consumer consultancies by spring 1997.



The decision affects three agencies: Stephanie Churchill, which handles

PR for children’s clothing; Cameron Choat and Partners which works on

vitamins; and Attenborough Associates, which has held the account for

top selling cosmetics brands No7 and No17 for 26 years.



The company would not discuss the fee-value of the accounts but

estimated that it will cost pounds 500,000 to manage the three accounts

in-house.



Nick Attenborough, managing director of Attenborough Associates, said he

was disappointed that the consultancy’s contract with Boots would not be

renewed when it expires in March 1997. ‘It was inevitable that Boots

would eventually take all its PR in-house. It’s a cost issue - they have

more control if they keep costs in-house,’ he said.



Sheilagh Patterson, director of customer services and public relations

at Boots said the move was strategically important: ‘We consider public

relations to be a key tool by which we communicate our message to

customers. It is vital therefore that we take an integrated approach to

the strategic planning and practical implementation of all

communications.’



Boots is to add seven new posts to its 24-strong in-house team, making

the Nottingham-based department bigger by a third. PR managers have

already been appointed for children’s clothes and vitamins.



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