When Pat McLean joined Walgreens as CMO in November of 2019, he made some big plans for 2020 that included sponsoring the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. Then a global pandemic happened. And while the 119-year-old retailer sprang into action as an essential service, the crisis exposed the company’s lagging digital strategy. With a renewed focus on health and wellness, McLean is committed to setting the brand apart and making critical investments to bridge the digital gap.
Rob Reed (RR): You joined Walgreens as CMO late last year, so the majority of your time has pretty much been during the pandemic. You obviously went into 2020 with a marketing plan. How has that changed?
Pat McLean (PM): Well, it’s changed dramatically. It’s been an amazing ride. I mean, 10 months. Some days it feels like it’s been about three years just because of everything