Accenture at Cannes: “They said we’d never be creative”

Accenture Interactive had a very big yacht at Cannes last year – and posters all over the Palais des Festivals – but Anatoly Roytman, who heads up the company in Europe, African and Latin America, didn’t quite believe his own hype at the time.

“For years the industry laughed at us and said we’d never be creative,” Roytman said. Even when Accenture Irish agency Rothco won a Grand Prix last year for its JFK Unsilenced work for The Times, he was aware that the award could be dismissed as “a fluke.”

This year, post the Droga5 acquisition, Roytman finally feels like Accenture Interactive deserves its big yacht in the harbour. The agency has entered around 90 campaigns into the festival and Roytman has high hopes for a number of them, as long as the juries are prepared to give Accenture a fair hearing.

The Droga5 acquisition seems to have shaken off the sense of being a gatecrasher at Cannes. Roytman describes it as “the final nail” that has put to bed all doubts about his agency. Roytman said Droga5, like all the creative acquisitions, will be given time to “acclimatize” themselves to Accenture Interactive, but they are now a part of the whole, and will be expected to provide members of custom agency teams sent out to work on clients.

Accenture is putting on a “Creative Barbecue” for agencies, including Droga5, Karmarma, Rothco and Kolle Rebe. “We want them to share, and to realise that together we can do greater things. When you are confident in your skills you are not afraid to share, and that’s when the magic comes out. Creative collaboration is about being free, and being prepared to give more than you get.”

Now that the creative landscape is pretty much covered, Roytman is turning his attention to media, despite saying a couple of years ago that it didn’t interest him because there’s no money to be made. The change of heart – which may well include some acquisitions – is not specifically about money, but about Accenture’s ability to provide an “end-to-end set of services” and become a full service offering,

“We want to be transparent but the system is set up to make money from kickbacks,” he said. “Our work is attached to a client’s business performance. We make money, but if you try and do it from every single thing it leads to a siloed approach.”

Roytman also promised some big client announcements soon. He said: “We sit on the shoulders of Accenture, which works with 96 per cent of the G2000 clients. As long as we’ve got something to say, we can get a meeting with anyone.”

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