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Accenture’s Monkeys buy should rattle marcoms giants

Accenture Interactive has laid its cards on the table following its acquisition of Australian agency The Monkeys, its 12th such acquisition since 2013.

Australia boss Michael Buckley (below) says: “Similar to the Karmarama acquisition in London, if our focus is to be the number one customer experience business in the world, we need The Monkeys to achieve it. We’re now part creative, part consultant and part technology, and we can take that to clients as a new solution.”

When Accenture bought Karmarama last year the buy was dressed up as a digital venture, which didn’t fool anyone for very long. Karmarama no doubt handles a wedge of digital business but it’s really a mini-marcoms operation, based in creative advertising.

Following that it bought a majority stake in Hamburg-based SinnerSchrader AG which is a digital agency and a big one too but it’s clear that Accenture is moving towards a full service agency proposition, the only thing that’s currently missing is media although it’s already said it plans to move into programmatic media buying, in partnership with clients. As media becomes more and more automated it may find it doesn’t need a conventional media operation – with people – at all.

It has also been hiring experienced agency execs, the latest being top planner Deepthi Prakash from BBDO New York, arguably the world’s most formidable agency network. It has also hired from Ogilvy which, with its cerebral roots (David Ogilvy was more into logic than emotion) is clearly another good fit.

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So far its piecemeal acquisitions leave it still way behind the big conventional marcoms companies. Will it try to buy an ad agency (or media) network from them one day? This would be akin to inviting the fox into the hen house on their part but marcoms shareholders may still look favourably on such a sale if the marcoms elite stay marooned in low growth, just 1.7 per cent organic growth across the piece in the first quarter according to ID Comms.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

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