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AB InBev, Walgreens and GSK launch search for DTC and CX tech partners

Walgreens, AB InBev and GSK have stepped up their search for new tech partners through a series of £20k live innovation pitches taking place next month.

AB InBev, the brewer behind beer brands including Budweiser, Camden Hells and Corona, is seeking a technology partner that can help boost its D2C channels and acquire customers more efficiently. Global pharmacy and retail giant Walgreens is targeting tech and innovation that can bring their products closer to prospective consumers and Health Care Professionals. Late last year, Walgreens’ Boots brand announced a “personalisation at scale” growth strategy. Meanwhile, GSK is seeking technologies to get GSK’s products into the hands (and mouths!) of consumers and experts so that more people can experience the positive benefits that they can bring.

The £20k briefs are all part of the PITCH//IT initiative held at MAD//Anywhere on 10-11 March, a global virtual marketing festival from MAD//Fest London. The pitch process will be managed by collaborative innovation specialists Co:Cubed and Marni Allen, Director, Consumer Healthcare Futures, Walgreens, Jason Andree, Head of Content & Earned Media, GSK Consumer Healthcare and Rafael Gandra, Innovation Manager, AB InBev.

Six start-ups will be selected to present for the PITCH//IT £20k pilots which will take place live at the event. At the last MAD//Anywhere event, top brands Diageo and Schwarz-owner McCormick Foods awarded innovation pilots to gamification platform TheQ and personalised video marketing start-up Spirable respectively.

More than 4,000 global marketers are expected to attend MAD//Anywhere. Speakers include Cheryl Calverley, Chief Executive, Eve Sleep, Rebecca Baron, Head of Activism + Social Purpose, Ben & Jerry’s, Rory Sutherland, Vice-chair, Ogilvy, Shamil Thakrar, Co-founder, Dishoom and Teddy Goff, the digital guru behind Joe Biden’s successful 2021 US Presidential election campaign.

Jeremy Basset, Founder + CEO, Co:Cubed said: “Everyone from start-ups to global brands and governments are backing innovation as the route back to growth right now. Clearly there is a huge opportunity for start-ups and brands to collaborate and drive new marketing opportunities, experiences and sales channels. We’re excited at the opportunity to connect innovations with the challenges of global players like AB InBev, Walgreens and GSK. Better still, we will be doing this live in front of thousands of global marketers at MAD//Anywhere next month!”

Marni Allen, Director, Consumer Healthcare Futures, Walgreens said: “We’re really excited about the opportunity to provide our consumers access to more holistic, personalized healthcare solutions and are looking for ideas about how we can make that happen. Your great ideas can help us better meet the healthcare needs of millions of consumers in the US.”

Jason Andree, Head of Content & Earned Media, GSK Consumer Healthcare said: “In a world where we’re forever trying to get closer to our consumers, we’re seeking out how we can use technologies to get our products into the hands (and mouths!) of our consumers and Health Care Professionals so that more people can experience the positive benefits that they can bring.”

Start-ups and scale-ups can enter the GSK, AB InBev and Walgreens pitches until 26 Feb.