The consultancies are coming.
Accenture has made a big step in its slow-moving effort to compete with both holding companies and creative agencies by acquiring independent London-based shop Karmarama, whose client roster includes Unilever, the BBC, Cobra Beer, Just Eat and Honda. The terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.
The deal allows Accenture Interactive, part of Accenture Digital, to expand its offerings to clients and expands its team of creatives and marketing professionals. Karmarama executive chairman Jon Wilkins, CEO Ben Bilboul, CSO Sid McGrath and CCO Nik Studzinski will continue in their current roles while also taking on unspecified leadership positions with Accenture Interactive.
“Acquiring a creative agency in London, where some of the world’s most iconic creative work is produced, will help us reshape how brands imagine, create, and deliver customer experiences,” said Brian Whipple, head of Accenture Interactive, in a statement. “Karmarama will become part of the world’s largest digital agency, expanding our global capabilities across experience, marketing, content and commerce with excellence in creative and mobile. This will contribute to further differentiate Accenture Interactive as a new breed of agency – experience architects – which helps brands connect disconnected experiences and shares accountability with clients for their business outcomes.”
“As part of Accenture Interactive, we will dramatically enhance our ability to offer best-in-class creativity and digital delivery,” added Bilboul. “We look forward to extending our creative ideas across the entire customer experience, offering clients consistent and connected creativity. We believe this is a genuinely game-changing moment for clients and for our team, who will now have even greater opportunity to work with leading global brands across international markets.”
Remember that Accenture has been effectively invading the ad industry in less obvious ways for some time: its North American eCommerce manager Chip Knicker is now chief digital officer for Omnicom’s McDonald’s agency Unlimited, and many executives even on the creative side of the business have gone to work for the consultancy in recent years.
In an interview with Business Insider today, Accenture’s Brian Whipple explained the acquisition as such: “We are laser-focused on helping clients create the best customer experiences on the planet.” In other words, Accenture eventually wants to become a one-stop shop for international clients. Like competitor Deloitte, which recently acquired Heat and won a creative review for Del Monte, it has also been pitching alongside “traditional” agencies for business — thought it has yet to record a real headlining upset win in any such review.
Karmarama’s executive chairman Jon Wilkins also tells BI that the appeal of being acquired by Accenture as opposed to, say, WPP is that the consultancy will be more hands-off and “entrepreneurially-minded.”
We’ll see how that goes soon enough.