GSD&M Set to Win Walgreens Creative Account

Omnicom Group Shop Beats McGarryBowen in Final-Round Shootout

By Published on .

Walgreens is set to tap GSD&M to handle creative duties after a review, Ad Age has learned.

It's a big coup for the Omnicom Group shop, which in the final round of a creative review that began in January, beat out new-business powerhouse McGarryBowen, which is owned by Dentsu.

Credit: AP

Walgreens could not be immediately reached, and McGarryBowen and GDS&M declined to comment. It's understood that Austin, Texas-based GSD&M will handle integrated ad duties, including digital-strategy duties.

Walgreen Co. is among the top 100 largest national advertisers, according to Ad Age 's DataCenter. It spent $230 million on domestic measured media in 2011, according to Kantar.

It's another sizable score for GSD&M, following the shop's win of the eHarmony account earlier this year. The solid new-business run is helpful considering the shop's place on the roster of Southwest, its client of nearly 30 years, is shrinking.

For Omnicom Group it means the account stays within the family. Omnicom-owned Downtown Partners was previously the lead broadcast creative agency but did not participate in the review. It's possible, though, that the agency may work with the Deerfield, Ill.-based company in the future, executives familiar with the matter told Ad Age .

The review didn't include multicultural or media serivce, or digital-media planning or buying. Digital marketing for Walgreens is handled by Publicis Groupe 's Digitas. Sibling shop Arc Worldwide, part of Leo Burnett, works on the chain's "Way to well" program, which encompasses cause marketing, among other work. Its media agency, Starcom USA, is also owned by Publicis Groupe .

The move comes after Walgreens in September reorganized its merchandising and marketing teams, a move that eliminated the CMO position, which was held by Kim Feil.