One of the more significant pieces of news to hit the agency community in the past several years was Accenture Interactive’s April 2019 acquisition of lauded independent shop Droga5. The purchase of Adweek’s Agency of the Decade spurred a significant amount of buzz (and opinions). It represented a seismic shift in the agency landscape, with Accenture signaling its intention to compete with the incumbents.
In perhaps an unsurprising development, parent company Accenture brought all of its creative in-house, tapping Droga5 as its lead agency in September 2019.
Today, the consulting giant and agency launched a massive b-to-b campaign with a message relevant to the times.
Called “Let There Be Change,” the work features a series of video ads across linear and digital TV, display, programmatic video, social media and search. The campaign has an eye-popping budget of $90 million, with more than 40 direct paid media partnerships across regions worldwide, 1,000-plus sites within Accenture’s paid programmatic network and 147 branded social accounts across four global and eight local social platforms.
Additionally, this is the brand’s first-ever synchronous international broadcast TV launch, with the anthem spot (above) airing at precisely the same time.
Creatively, the work feels familiar to other b-to-b advertising. Yet, according to Droga5 founding partner Duncan Marshall, the point of the execution is to land “a very simple message, and the message of change as we approach it as a launch piece sets up the idea as we dive into the concept.”
While the layperson may perceive some of the creative choices as generic, the well-crafted ad’s message is considered, thoughtful and directly aimed at Accenture’s intended target. The symbolism of the campaign’s imagery works in metaphors with the intention of, as Marshall puts it, “triggering understanding [by the core audience] and setting up curiosity. We wanted to do something that was a little more surprising than one might imagine.”
According to Accenture global CMO Amy Fuller, creatively capturing the essence of such a massive company can be a real challenge because of the “extremely precise group” of clients (it works with 91 of the Fortune 100), plus an internal audience of over 500,000 employees around the world.
“[These are] very big companies, sophisticated entities, big governments and a lot in the public sector,” noted Fuller. “And the brand is the people. As a professional services company, they are not simply the brand ambassadors—they are the product and distribution channel.”
Incredibly, Accenture invested $900 million in training and developing its current and new employees last year. Core to the overall idea is that the campaign serves as a jumping-off point and a place for exploration while being a rallying point for Accenture’s staff.
“Having an immense toolkit that every individual can use is essential to avoid fragmenting the brand,” said Fuller, mentioning that the new approach and platform unifies hundreds of website pages in 53 countries and 10 languages, in addition to hundreds of internal sites.
Strategically, Fuller believes the new brand work will help simplify an understanding of Accenture’s purpose, which she says is “delivering on the promise of technology and human ingenuity.”
“Those two elements are directly responsive to what we know clients are thinking and care about, and what Accenture is,” she said, noting the results of a survey that 28,000 employees completed pointing to the importance of the brand’s purpose as being critical.
Lingering under the surface as well, in the new campaign, is a sense of optimism, even in the incredibly challenging circumstances companies face today.