As CEO of Avidan Strategies, an agency search firm, we constantly conduct reviews for clients who wish to switch ad agencies. The reasons for conducting a search cover the span of the good, the bad, and the ugly. Sometimes clients resort to spurious explanations for a review. Sometimes, the arrival of a new chief marketing officer is enough to precipitate a review, as its ties to the CMO’s predecessor taint the incumbent agency.
Yet, the Accenture agency search, as reported in this story by Advertising Age, is appropriate and well timed. Until the wee hours of last Thanksgiving, when Tiger woods slammed his SUV into a tree, Accenture had a solid ad campaign. Using Tiger as spokesman and symbol of the consultancy dedication to excellence was effective. Although not exactly relevant to Accenture’s offerings, Tiger was magic. He was the ultimate professional, an athlete that not only transcended his sport, but one that transcended all sports. Tiger was a rock star.
To its credit, Accenture reacted fast to the unfolding scandal. Within weeks it dropped Tiger as a spokesman and launched a new campaign, featuring animals in unusual situations to illustrate aspects of its service. For example, a surfing elephant to depict nimbleness. The marketer is trying to downplay speculation that the animal campaign was a “hail Mary” pass, and suggests that it’s agency, Y&R, had pulled it out of a drawer. I doubt it. When you sign up Tiger Woods to be your spokesperson, you don’t need a Plan B. You know that this is the horse that you are going to ride.
That said, Accenture is smart to call a review. The animal campaign was a good stop gap measure, but now it is time to look beyond the horizon and come up with the next big campaign idea that can last 7,8,9 years. Y&R has been Accenture’s agency since Accenture was formed in the mid-90s. While longevity is not necessarily a bad thing, relationships can get stale. So it’s smart of Accenture to cast a wider net. As a matter of fact, more and more companies now conduct mandatory periodic reviews, previously conducted only by governmental agencies, to insure that services provided are best in class.
I hope that the winning idea will not be apologetic. Tiger’s mess has nothing to do with Accenture, and unlike Nike, they acted ethically and wisely by dumping him swiftly. The new agency should focus on Accenture leadership equity, it’s commitment to research and it’s ability to manage complicated systems. As we are coming out of the recession, glitz is being replaced by authenticity. Businessmen, Accenture’s target, are under tremendous pressure in a tough bottom-line environment. The animals campaign is funny and warm, but perhaps too cartoonish for our time. A more straightforward campaign, with Accenture traditional warmth and humanity, is more appropriate.
Avi Dan is President & CEO of Avidan Strategies, a New York based consultancy specialized in advising professional service companies on marketing and business development. Mr. Dan was previously a board member with two leading advertising agencies and managed another.
Maybe! Our imagination tends to run wild so if you’ve got reason to believe that hush money paid to Tiger’s mistresses is of no interest to the IRS, please advise.
TMZ is reporting, based on “sources — and they are good” that Tigger paid Rachel Uchitel $10 million to keep her mouth shut regarding their affair.
Or maybe we’re not giving either of them enough credit. Maybe Rachel has a tremendous business acumen that we’re not aware of and she requested a 1099 from T. Dubs.
Plus, Tiger employs more people than Alaska, so someone on his team may have been looking out for this girl. TW, on the other hand, there’s NFW he considered the problems this could possibly create. Considering the fact that he has trouble communicating, we’re guessing the financial ramifications for his F-buddies slipped his mind.
It’s bracket season and while many of you are trying to get out of work to watch hoops, the good folks at Esquire have a much more pressing matter at hand.
The Sexiest Woman Alive Bracket is: “A single-elimination battle royale: sixty-four women, seven rounds, one readers’-choice champion, and not a single Kardashian,” and RSM McGladrey’s own Natalie Gulbis is a number one seed.
Her first round cruise match is against…Lane Kiffin?
Yes, Lane Kiffin. For those of you not pigskin inclined, Lane Kiffin recently left his job as the University of Tennessee football coach for the job at the University of Southern California.
As you might expect, Volunteer fans didn’t take too kindly to a young first-year coach bolting for the sunny confines of L.A. This is not lost on the folks at Esquire and they opted to include the Trojan coach in this year’s bracket.
And as it stands right now, Natalie is trailing Lane in the first round match-up with just under 35k votes to Kiffin’s 46k-ish votes. How does Kiffin, who at first glance does not even qualify for this particular bracket, manage to hold on to what seems to be a insurmountable lead? Is it possible that LK is sexier than Natalie?
Plus, if this lead holds up, isn’t this a public relations disaster for everyone involved? How will RSM explain this to their clients? Will this lead to a desperate move by the firm to drop NG in favor of someone else, say a newly recovered sex addict — who’s a little down on his luck re: sponsors — that will be playing in the Masters?
Vote for the Sexiest Woman Alive! [Esquire]
• Suspicious substance at IRS called non-hazardous [KSL5]
After everything that has happened lately that is IRS-related, somehow that white powdery substance showing up at an IRS building and three employees having seizures is one giant coinky-dink.
• Goldman Discloses a New Risk: Bad Publicity [DealBook]
Team Jehovah pushed the button on its 10-K yesterday and because they’re the type of company to keep everything on the up and up, they put it out there that when every media source calls you out each time you break wind, you have a entirely new problem:
“Press coverage and other public statements that assert some form of wrongdoing, regardless of the factual basis for the assertions being made, often results in some type of investigation by regulators, legislators and law enforcement officials, or in lawsuits.
…adverse publicity…can also have a negative impact on our reputation and on the morale and performance of our employees, which could adversely affect our businesses and results of operations.”
You don’t think the name calling and nuclear testicle jokes can affect the bottom line? Think again. PwC bought it. Shouldn’t you?
• Sawgrass Resort Linked to Tiger Woods Apology Files Bankruptcy [Bloomberg]
At present, avoiding any contact with Tiger seems to be prudent.
“I do plan to return to golf one day, I just don’t know when that day will be.”
~ Tiger Woods
Last, but definitely not least, on the F100BCTWR is the House of Klynveld. We figure that if you judged the HoK based solely on the fact that it sponsors a golfer who can manage to keeps his pants on for five minutes, they dominate this list. Unfortch, Fortune takes additional variables into account out of respect for the process.
KPMG – Previously ranked #56. It’s great because, “[The] firm introduced a sabbatical program allowing employees to take leaves of four to 12 weeks at 20% of pay. Some 450 employees immediately signed up for it. Employees average 25 paid days off.” Thoughts?
Other interesting stats per the snapshot:
• New Jobs (1 year): -1,581
• % Job Growth (1 year): -7%
• % Voluntary Turnover: 12%
• No. of Job Openings at 1/13/2010: 2,700
• Most common salaried job: Senior Associate with average salary of $78,100
So the numbers aren’t so hot compared to others. Not to worry though! TF is out there rallying the troops even jumping across the Hudson every now and again just to check on everybody. What more could you ask for?
RSM McGladrey’s C.E. Andrews was on CNBC today to plug the The McGladrey Classic, the new PGA Tour event that has NOTHING TO DO WITH TIGER WOODS.
C to the E to the A also isn’t too worried whether or not his firm got a deal sponsoring the tournament at the rumored $3 – $3.5 million since the wheels were already in motion before the “Tiger event” (read: everyone on Earth knows that he’ll screw anything). He’s just stoked that the firm has their name on a tournament (although it’s not so obv from his demeanor).
As for PGA commish Tim Finchem, he hasn’t talked to him and he says he won’t until T Dubs is ready. According to the commish, they’ll prepare appropriately at that time which will probably involve having local hookers on site at the events.
Basically the unspoken element here is how grateful the PGA is to have RSM do them a favor in their time of need.
After taking a stab at making the Tiger image still work and then realizing that the Andersen treatment was the only way to go, Accenture has rolled out their new advertising campaign.
Rather than take your suggestion that an ultimate fighter — with an accounting degree no less — would be the best route, Accenture has decided that sticking with the animal mantra was the best way to go.
The Journal spent 1,100 words telling us about the new Earth shattering idea:
After nearly a month of focus-group testing and production work, Accenture is rolling out the new global marketing campaign this week. The creatures, which include an elephant, a chameleon and some frogs and fish, will star in a series of TV, print and online spots.
One of the posters shows an elephant balancing precariously on a surfboard. The text reads, “Who says you can’t be big and nimble?” Another ad shows a frog leaping over three others, with the tagline, “Play quantum leapfrog.”
So the marketing team is sitting around, drinking bottled water, drumming on the conference table and suddenly, someone blurts out “You know, Tiger is man but it’s also an animal.”
Everyone stares at this fool that just said the stupidest thing they’d ever heard, “And?” one team member snaps back.
“Well, since everyone is used to Tiger, which is also an animal, we’ll just replace the man with animals that aren’t tigers. That way, people will still think ‘animals = Accenture is good’ but not ‘the guy named after an animal is a cheating bastard.’ Get it?”
The light bulb finally clicks on for everyone else. “You’re right. We’ll just put animals that aren’t tigers in the ads. No one cares if animals cheat on their spouses. Brilliant!”
Prior to this revelation, Accenture apparently considered jugglers and jump ropers. We understand this was five alarm blaze for the company but elephants on surfboards and leap frog was the solution? Maybe they’re just had the whole animal thing on the brain and couldn’t shake it.
But hey, what do we know? We’re sure it’ll be a huge success. Can’t wait for the Super Bowl commercials. Get those frogs to drink beer and then you’ll have a winner for sure.
After Ditching Tiger, Accenture Tries New Game [WSJ]
• AP: Ponzi collapses nearly quadrupled in ’09 – Thimble-dick Bernie, Allen Stanford, Tom “Cocker Spaniel” Petters, all did their part. [via HuffPo]
• The First Annual Jr Deputy Accountant Year in Review Awards (or some h*t) – Somehow we ended up on this list and somehow JDA managed to make it a backhanded compliment (we think). [JDA]
• Koss financial records will get more scrutiny in 2010 – With comments from Tracy Coenen at Fraud Files. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]
• The Man Who Wired Silicon Valley – How Raj got the world by the short and curlies. [WSJ]
• GM Plans Pontiac Fire Sale – “GM sent letters to dealers Dec. 23 saying it would pay them $7,000 for every new Saturn or Pontiac on their lot that is moved to rental-vehicle or service-vehicle fleets operated by the dealers.” So yes, they’ll seem extra pushy. [WSJ]
• The Big Zero – As in the decade we’re finishing up. Prof. Krugman also quotes Diet Coke fiend Larry Summers stating that GAAP was the most important innovation in history and that it allows investors to make good decisions. According to PK, also a big zero. [Paul Krugman/NYT]
• Spurious academic study of the day, Tiger Woods edition – Ball-parking investors’ losses due to TW’s cheating ways is not so easy, nay, ridiculous. [Felix Salmon/Reuters]
You’ve got to hand it to Accenture, if you’re not the ‘metaphor of high performance’ any more (i.e. a married man with two kids screwing everything that moves), they will make Enron audit workpapers out of you.
After the hammer came down on Sunday, the marketing crew — who spent the last six years making T. Dubs’ mug the mug of Accenture — has some work to do:
By Monday afternoon, Accenture staffers had swept through the company’s New York office and removed any visible Tiger posters. The next day, marketing and communications employees around the world were asked to turn in any remaining Tiger-emblazoned posters and other materials.
Considering the fact that Accenture is one of the remaining derivatives of Arthur Andersen, destroying all this stuff should be a piece of cake (shredder sure but we’re guessing they’ve got an incinerator chute). The best part for them is, they aren’t obstructing justice, they’re maintaining their sterling (?) reputation.
Maybe easier said than done since they spent “$50 million on advertising in the United States last year, and Mr. Woods appeared in 83 percent of the company’s ads.”
They really just need to get someone (anyone!) else in there ASAP to make us sorta forget (but not really) that T Dubs was shilling for them for six years.
Accenture, as if Tiger Woods Were Never There [NYT]
As we mentioned yesterday, Accenture is on the hunt for a new poster boy. While we speculated that poaching Phil from the House of Klynveld as a possibility for Accenture it’s more likely that the spotlight will be falling on Mickelson and his KPMG cap (black or white, depending on the mood).
Although Phil won’t be dancing on Tiger’s grave, Tim Flynn may have been quietly making the rounds at 345 Park high fiving anyone and everyone at work on the Monday after Tiger’s crash.
If you’ve got any thoughts on how TF celebrated (sweater vests for everyone!) discuss in the comments.
The possibilities are endless:
• Will they poach Phil* from KPMG?
• What about Natalie from RSM?
• Do they go in a different direction altogether and pick up Chuck Liddell?
T. Dubs’ tendency to screw anything with a pulse looks like it will benefit someone handsomely. Accenture can’t afford to go too long without a shill.
Let’s help them out. Vote below and discuss. Oh, and if the mood strikes you, throw a caption on this pic. You’ve go to wonder which trollop TW’s got on the brain wearing a grin like that.
*Over Tim Flynn’s dead body
• H.R. 4173, Summary of Accounting and Audit Related Provisions – Lots to digest here but it’s all important, including a possible GASP name change for the PCAOB. [FEI Financial Reporting Blog]
• Invitation to a Conversation: If the Auditors Were Missing from the Financial Crisis — Let’s Ask Why – Jim Peterson doesn’t mince words: “The simple if depressing reason is that their core product has long since been judged irrelevant. The standard auditor’s report is an anachronism — having lost any value it may once have had, except for legally-required compliance.” [Re: Balance/Jim Peterson]
• Accenture Makes Right Decision, Drops Tiger Sponsorship – The awkward inappropriateness of the whole situation is now hitting T. Dubs in the wallet, as Accenture jumps into the “your services are no longer needed” camp. He won’t starve. [The Big Four Blog]
• Open Letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission (Part 5): Issuer Retaliation Complaint Against Overstock.com – Patrick Byrne’s attempt to develop his own Richard Nixon-esque enemies list has been met with fierce resistance. [Sam Antar/White Collar Fraud]
• CPA firms face pricing pinch – “After years of gains since the government started keeping track in December 2003, overall prices for CPA firm services plummeted with the onset of recession in December 2007.” [CPA Trendlines]
• Citigroup to Repay $20 Billion of Government Bailout – $25 bil to go. Get on it. [Bloomberg]
By now, we’re sure you’ve heard that Madam Michelle Braun has claimed that Tiger Woods not only paid $60k for sex but that both Holly Sampson and Jamie Jungers, two of T. Dubs [insert most recent number here] mistresses, were prosties for her.
It doesn’t sound like Tiger got down with either of the them while they were hooking for Braun (it was just regular throwing money around type stuff) but the Post does quote Braun about TW being a big fan of the ‘girl-on-girl’ action and ‘booze and sex bender[s].’
ANNNNNND they’ve got 1099s for both Sampson and Jungers. So does anyone doubt that the greatest golfer the world has ever known is basically the same as Eliot Spitzer? We’re sure convinced!
Seriously, if a madam goes to the trouble of filling out 1099s for non-employee compensation, we’ve got no reason to disbelieve anything she says.
You may now return to your regularly non-accounting related Tiger Woods coverage.
Woods ‘bought’ cathouse gals [NYP]
Also see: Lesson Learned: Even Madams Pay Their Taxes [Tax Girl]
• Tiger Woods Dilemma for Accenture – Cloud or Cancer? – There’s no dilemma from where we stand. [The Big Four Blog]
• Year-end Planning: Make Sure You Have Enough Basis to Deduct Your S Corporation Losses – Despite the Biblical weather in Iowa, Joe Kristan continues with the year-end tax planning series. [Tax Update Blog]
• Unleash the auditors? – We mentioned the Fed. How the hell has FASB managed to dodge the SCOTUS? [CFOZone]
• Tighter controls on wireless data usage coming for iPhones and other devices, AT&T exec warns – Abuse the new toys while you can, Deloitte grasshoppers. [CT]