Like Accenture and Deloitte, the international professional services firm PwC (formerly Pricewaterhouse Coopers) has begun competing directly with ad agencies for business in recent years.
All related work takes place within the consultancy, which is best known for financial advice but also includes a CMO Advisory unit and an internal agency called Digital Services. In an effort to further enhance those offerings, PwC recently issued an RFP seeking agency help in promoting itself to current and potential clients around the world.
“As we continue to strengthen the PwC brand, we are reviewing media agencies to assist in the execution of an advertising campaign,” said U.S. marketing lead John Sviokla. “Our in-house team will be intimately involved in the creative direction of the campaign and will remain focused on helping PwC’s clients drive digital transformations.”
A client spokesperson indicated that this would be a strictly media agency review, but several parties close to the matter tell us the remit goes beyond media strategy to include creative—and that Huge and Deutsch are among the shops currently pitching.
We’ve all heard news of consultancies competing with agencies, but PwC has been steadily building its internal agency for about three years. According to a 2015 Digiday profile, Digital Services employs 3,000 creatives/digital experts serving 200 clients in 31 offices. That internal division alone “did $750 million in revenue in 2014, making it the fourth-biggest agency network in the U.S. according to AdAge Datacenter.”
Last summer, the organization re-emphasized its focus on creative by promoting former graffiti artist, CCO and CP+B/SapientNitro veteran Juan-Carlos Morales to partner—the first creative to hold that title.
PwC now looks to (quietly) take on a more expansive role in its clients’ marketing efforts. But its budget remains relatively small due to the fact that most of its promotions come from within. According to Kantar Media, the company spent around $11 million on paid media in 2015 and just under $10 million during the first 9 months of 2016.
A client spokesperson declined to elaborate on the details of the review such as which agency currently handles the account, whether it will defend the business and which shops were invited to pitch.[Image via Flickr]