CMO 50: Patrick McLean

VP, chief marketing officer, Walgreens

Walgreens, one of the largest retailers in the U.S., is a driving force behind the COVID-19 vaccination effort, inoculating more than 20 million Americans since distribution began in January. Racing to meet President Joe Biden’s May 1 deadline for vaccine eligibility for all U.S. adults, Walgreens expanded operations at its pharmacies and hosted off-site clinics at nursing homes, schools and churches, while training technicians to give shots with the supervision of a pharmacist to support demand.

As chief marketing officer, Patrick McLean played a key role in developing communications around vaccine awareness, education and distribution through Walgreens. The retailer launched This Is Our Shot in April, an integrated marketing and communications campaign, narrated by John Legend and amplified by influencers, to boost vaccine confidence and spread the word that the shot is available at Walgreens. The campaign included a special on NBC called Roll Up Your Sleeves that featured celebrities, pharmacists and community members receiving the shot. 

Walgreens has leaned heavily into its pharmacists as influencers for vaccine education, highlighting them in a series of PSAs it created in partnership with The Ad Council. The Walgreens Boots Alliance also committed $350,000 to provide COVID-19 resources to India as cases and deaths continue to surge in the country. 


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