Walgreens Confirms Selection of GSD&M as Lead Creative Agency

Succeeds Downtown Partners in new role

It took a few days, but Walgreens has finally confirmed its selection of GSD&M as its new lead creative agency.

The Austin, Texas-based shop beat the Chicago office of mcgarrybowen in the finals of a review that began in January. GSD&M succeeds Downtown Partners on the business.

The contenders had expected another round of presentations to Walgreens' executive board, but the retailer instead went ahead and awarded the business on Monday. Walgreens, however, declined to comment until today. 

Joe Magnacca, president of daily living products and solutions at the chain, said in a statement that GSD&M "brings the passion, experience and creativity to amplify our vision and to deliver our 'Well at Walgreens' message to consumers in impactful ways." 

The assignment includes both traditional and digital efforts, including broadcast, print, outdoor and online ads. The new agency's first work is expected in the fall.

The brand's media spending hovers around $200 million annually, according to Nielsen. 

The win comes at an opportune time for GSD&M, which this month lost its Kohler's creative business to Arnold. Longtime client Southwest Airlines also is seeking to add another agency to its roster.

Walgreens represents a national chain with a significant media budget that wants to redefine itself beyond the drugstore space. Sounds like a meaty challenge.