TEST – Shop Talk: Accounting for Taste

TEST – Is marketing that irritable-bowel drug not enough of a challenge for you? Why not try your hand at branding the world of accounting?

Shoptalk wouldn’t steer you wrong. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants wants a new agency. After more than a decade at Boston’s Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, the 328,000-member association has hired Roth Associates in New York to conduct a search. The group is said to be leaning toward a shop close to its New York base (which presumably leaves McCann-Erickson’s math-challenged European offices out of the running).

An uphill battle it will surely be for whoever wins this thing. The scandals plaguing the accounting giants during the past year have created a doozy of an image problem, and the AICPA has a mere $4-5 million to overcome it through marketing. But hey, what proud ad titan shrinks from a heady brief?

“I think it’s a brand in need, rather than a brand in trouble,” says one rather generous source. But the same source adds, more pointedly, “They’re not looking for customers. They’re looking for respect.”

Ad execs can certainly relate to that. Unfortunately, Rodney Dangerfield is already busy flogging Glad Cling Wrap. The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, perhaps? Just a humble suggestion.