CVS Names BBDO Creative Agency of Record

Drugstore Giant Recently Announced Plan to Stop Selling Cigarettes

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Drugstore giant CVS Caremark has named BBDO its creative agency of record after a review that began in early January.

"As we look ahead to exciting challenges for CVS Caremark as a leader in a quickly evolving health care marketplace, we have the opportunity to amplify our purpose of helping people on their path to better health," said Rob Price, chief marketing officer, CVS/pharmacy, in a statement. "BBDO is well-positioned to partner with us in this journey and bring our message to life with all stakeholders."

The company spent $76.7 million on measured media in 2013, according to Kantar Media.

The review, which has supported by Pile & Co., included digital, according to people familiar with the matter. CVS last reviewed the business in 2010, when it moved the account to Havas' Arnold from IPG-owned Hill Holliday .

Arnold dropped out of the new review earlier this month, and five agencies were part of the final round, according to people familiar with the process: Omnicom's BBDO, WPP's Ogilvy, Havas Worldwide, WPP's Grey and IPG's Lowe.

BBDO has had a strong start to the year. Last week, it effectively replaced its Bank of America business, which it lost in 2012, by winning Wells Fargo. Major League Baseball also appointed BBDO as its creative agency partner in February.

Based in Woonsocket, R.I., CVS recently made headlines when it announced that it would stop selling cigarettes and tobacco products in its stores across the U.S. by Oct. 1. The decision would cut the company's revenue by about $2 billion, but was widely applauded by the American Cancer Society, the American Medical Association and President Obama.

While cutting short-term profit, the move should help the chain reposition its brand as a more well-rounded healthcare organization than a traditional drugstore. CVS houses pharmacies, offers flu shots and prescription reminders, and even has an in-store service that prescribes drugs -- capabilities that seemed increasingly at odds with simultaneously selling cigarettes.

When it merged with Caremark in 2007, CVS took on the role of a pharmacy benefit manager, working with employers and insurance companies on drug costs. The brand also now works more closely with doctors' offices and hospitals.

This past November, CVS, which as of December had almost 7,500 stores, bought Coram LLC, a company that provides infusion and nutrition services.

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