PwC Picks R/GA as Its Newest Agency Partner After Oscars Best Picture Snafu

The shop won a project-based creative review

PwC picks R/GA as its newest agency partner. Photo Illustration: Dianna McDougall; Sources: Getty Images, R/GA
Headshot of Patrick Coffee

Multinational professional services company PwC (also known as PricewaterhouseCoopers) has chosen R/GA as its new creative agency partner after a review.

This news comes just over a week after the company earned unwanted attention due to a widely publicized Best Picture mix-up at the Oscars. According to several reports, an accountant tasked with delivering the winning envelope to presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway got distracted and instead handed them the Best Actress card, which led Beatty to initially declare that La La Land, rather than Moonlight, had won Best Picture.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences later issued an apology and, according to Vanity Fair, prohibited PwC executives from appearing on CNN for an interview. The company has overseen the Oscars voting process for more than 83 years.

PwC’s agency review, which launched earlier this year, is completely unrelated to the Academy incident—as is the work that PwC’s new agency partner will handle moving forward. Deutsch had previously been lead agency on the business after winning a 2014 review. The IPG agency created campaigns such as 2015’s “Extraordinary Challenges,” which promoted the client’s global consultancy offering Strategy&.

Today a company spokesperson confirmed that R/GA won the assignment, noting that PwC does not intend to name an official agency of record but declining to elaborate on future campaigns. Representatives for R/GA and Deutsch declined to comment on the news, though parties close to the review told Adweek that the latter agency did participate, as did Brooklyn’s Huge.

“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 when news of the review first broke last month. “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.”

The in-house team that Sviokla referenced is a sizable operation. According to a 2015 Digiday profile, the Digital Services unit employs around 3,000 marketing professionals who serve 200 PwC clients across 31 offices. Considered on its own, this organization would be one of the five largest agency networks in the U.S.

PwC’s own external marketing budget remains somewhat limited. According to Kantar Media, the company spent approximately $11 million on paid media in 2015 and just under $10 million during the first nine months of 2016.

@PatrickCoffee Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.