Accenture (US)

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Accenture is a leading global management consultancy, but also increasingly a marketing services provider in its own right. Although it offers business consulting in virtually every sector of industry, the group developed a particular emphasis in the 2000s on assisting clients with the integration of IT services and outsourcing. Far from being damaged by the 2008 economic downturn, Accenture's performance improved as clients rushed to cut costs by outsourcing or improving their internal efficiency. Arguably more marketing-conscious than its competitors, it developed an unusually high profile for its industry through a long-running marketing campaign featuring, until the end of 2009, superstar golfer Tiger Woods. As a result it was one of the first management consultancies to begin itself offering marketing services to its clients. A dedicated marketing sciences unit which aimed to help clients get the maximum effectiveness from their own advertising and media strategy has been expanded through the acquisition of a succession of third party units, including digital agencies Acquity Group and Javelin Group. In 2016, in a first step into full service marketing, it acquired London creative agency Karmarama; followed in 2017 by German digital agency Sinner Schrader and Australian creative shop The Monkeys.

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Recent stories from Adbrands Weekly Update:

Adbrands Weekly Update 12th October 2017: Former Clemenger BBDO creative chief Ant Keogh has joined two other ex-Clems colleagues at the new Melbourne office of Australian creative hot-shop The Monkeys, acquired by Accenture earlier this year. However, local business paper the Australian Financial Review also reported on rumours of a culture clash between the agency and its new owner. Two factors were cited: the first was the Monkeys' controversial ad for Meat & Livestock Commission - an Adbrands Ad of the Week three weeks ago - which portrayed a variety of iconic religious figures sharing a meal. The inclusion of vegetarian god Ganesha apparently eating lamb - "the meat more people can eat" according to the ad - caused considerable upset within the Hindu community, thereby prompting alarm within highly conservative Accenture. The consultancy is also said to be unhappy that The Monkeys have accepted gambling service Crownbet as a client. Separately, Accenture raised its game in the growing challenge to traditional marketing services groups by poaching OMD's EMEA chief Nikki Mendonca to take on a new global role as president of "intelligent marketing operations".

Adbrands Weekly Update 28th Sep 2017: An analyst at French investment bank Natixis has identified WPP and Publicis as potential takeover targets because of recent steep falls in their market value. Although he suggests that merger with an existing group is one possibility, a more likely option would be an approach from one of the management consultancies currently pushing into the marketing sector. Accenture, in particular, is a "credible buyer", he wrote in a note to investors. Its market capitalisation of over $90bn is more than five times that of Publicis and almost four times WPP, making any potential deal reasonably affordable.

Adbrands Weekly Update 17th Aug 2017: There were three significant account wins for management consultancy Accenture. In Australia, its newly acquired The Monkeys joined the roster for GM-owned Holden to launch the company's new SUV. The Monkeys also added gambling service Crownbet. Meanwhile, UK sister Karmarama was awarded pan-European creative duties for retailer Uniqlo.

Adbrands Weekly Update 13th Jul 2017: Business newspaper Australian Financial Review reported that the price tag for Accenture's recently agreed acquisition of local creative agency The Monkeys was a handsome A$63m, or around US$48m. Most of that sum goes to the three founding directors, Mark Green, Scott Nowell and Justin Drape, though four other staff also held a small equity stake. The price is roughly three times The Monkeys' revenues last year and 17 times EBITDA. The deal apparently involves a sizeable upfront sum, followed by an earnout over the following years. Unusually, this is not linked to financial performance, but to staff retention, suggesting that Accenture is keen to ensure that The Monkeys' directors and key staff stay with the firm over the long-term. Meanwhile Accenture added to its portfolio with yet another purchase, digital effectiveness firm Clearhead, which helps brands test and optimise their online marketing. The company has outposts in Texas and London. It is Accenture's 14th marketing-related acquisition since 2013.

Adbrands Weekly Update 11th May 2017: The level of competitive threat to traditional marketing agencies from management consultancies was raised by a further notch this week. Accenture added another top creative shop to its portfolio with the acquisition of Australian shop The Monkeys for an undisclosed sum. That follows the purchase of London agency Karmarama and German digital specialist Sinner Schrader earlier this year. The Monkeys is one of Australia's most admired creative shops, named as Agency of the Year by local trade bible B&T six times in the past seven years, most recently for 2016. The deal also includes Monkeys' subsidiary design unit Maud. "Customer experience is the new battleground," said Accenture Interactive head Brian Whipple, "and this acquisition will enable Accenture Interactive to integrate creative excellence with digital customer experience delivery. Together, we’re bringing our unique model to the market: part creative agency, part business consultancy, and part technology powerhouse - all focused on creating the best customer experiences on the planet."

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