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Boots cuts shortlist to two for £44m advertising account

LONDON – Boots has cut the shortlist for its £44m advertising account down to two agencies, dropping Publicis and Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO from the review.

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The two agencies shortlisted are incumbent J Walter Thompson and Mother. Boots is also reviewing its media planning and buying and is thought to have shortlisted incumbent MindShare and Naked Communications, which are pitching alongside JWT and Mother respectively.

The axing of Publicis from the shortlist will come as a surprise as the agency had been tipped as the favourite to capture Boots' £90m integrated account after the ousting of Boots strategic marketing director, Ann Francke, midway through the pitch process.

The decision to part company with Francke was made by Richard Baker, Boots' recently appointed chief executive, who is a former marketing director of Publicis' client, Asda.

Boots decided not to directly replace Francke, but instead appointed David Kneale, currently chief operating officer, to the new role of chief commercial officer, with responsibility for marketing, trading and formats.

The axing of Publicis is good news for incumbent agency JWT. The agency is behind the retailer's estimated £10m Christmas campaign that claims Boots has something for everyone, in a bid to win back market share from the supermarket giants.

Boots was also behind the recent stylish TV ad for Boots No 7 mascara. The spot showed how the cosmetic product could be the crucial element in a bank robbery, part of the Boots "7 ways to..." series.

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