Pharmacy retail giant Walgreens has put its U.S. media buying account up for review, Campaign US has learned from multiple sources.

At this time the review, which does not include Boots Pharmacy, pits incumbent WPP’s Mediacom against rival Publicis Media, which are competing for the business, sources confirmed. It’s not yet clear if other agencies will be invited to pitch. 

Briefs have been sent to both agencies and the process is due to conclude in Q1 2023. Initial meetings are said to have kicked off this week.

WPP has been servicing Walgreens’ parent Walgreens Boots Alliance globally across creative, media and communications since 2017, when it landed the $600 million account.

The holding company successfully defended the business in a six-month review that played out in the second half of 2020, extending its agency of record relationship through this year, with a potential two-year extension of the contract through 2024.

At the time, WBA’s former global chief marketing and customer officer Vineet Mehra told Campaign US the pitch was not just a retention, but a “relaunching of the partnership” between the two companies as the pharmacy giant adapts to digital transformation.

But much has changed internally at Walgreens since the pitch.

Mehra, who led the review, left shortly after WPP won the business in January 2021. And earlier this year, SVP and chief marketing officer Patrick McLean left the company. SVP and chief communications officer Aaron Radelet, who also led the pitch, remains in his role.

The 2020 review spanned creative and communications as well as media, which are not currently up for review — although sources tell Campaign US Walgreens may be reevaluating there as well.

Comvergence estimates Walgreens spends roughly $200 million on U.S. media annually.

Publicis Groupe has a relationship with Walgreens’ rival CVS Health spanning creative and CRM, which kicked off in early 2022.

WPP, Publicis Groupe did not reply to a request for comment in time for publication. Walgreens declined to comment.


This article originally appeared on Campaign US.