Accenture makes its media move, WPP moves into Unilever

What’s Accenture Interactive going to do about media, we’ve all been asking.

Now we know, it’s launching Accenture Interactive Programmatic Services, a “bespoke” offering that “drives greater transparency and efficiency in programmatic media planning and buying.”

The template for this seems to be new client win hotel group Radisson. Essentially it’s advice on running all aspects of digital media campaigns in-house with the intriguing rider that it can also run full service global digital media campaigns for clients. This is the closest Accenture has so far moved towards acting as a media agency.

Accenture Interactive global CEO Brian Whipple says: “As their experience agency, our clients have been asking us to help them drive greater efficiencies with their programmatic media spend, specifically digital media. Consistent with our mission to create, build and run the best customer experiences on the planet, we are enhancing Accenture Interactive Programmatic Services to complement our full suite of experience services. We are already focused on all the pieces that are related to media placement so it was a natural extension for us to help our clients deliver more hyper-relevant customer experiences through digital media.”

At the same time WPP has struck a deal with Unilever in Singapore to partner with its array of start-ups, companies “incubated” by Unilever in the region. There are some 50 of these it seems. The aim is to provide “innovative” solutions for some of Unilever’s 400 plus brands.

Unilever president South East Asia and Australasia Pier Luigi Sigismondi says: “This exciting collaboration is the first step in laying the foundation of the marketing services ecosystem of the future. When you combine the multifunctional capabilities of WPP with agile startups, you get a strong partnership which can continue to build Unilever’s core business, and at the same time address the huge shift taking place in consumers’ lives due to technological change.”

He may be right. But look at the array of WPP agencies working this supposedly more agile relationship, today’s buzzword: Burson Cohn & Wolfe, Design Bridge, Geometry, Hogarth, J Walter Thompson/Mirum, Kantar, Mindshare, Ogilvy, Smollan, Verticurl, VML and Wunderman. Who on earth are Smollan and Verticurl?

The Accenture offer is undeniably simpler although it may, of course, not be better.

But Accenture Interactive Programmatic Services (AIPS) will send a shiver through holding company-owned media agencies.

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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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