The consultants are coming

Pippa Chambers
By Pippa Chambers | 4 June 2018
Pippa Chambers

This month's edition is the second to feature a cover created by one of Australia’s leading creative agencies, and yet again, team AdNews is bowled over by the effort and end result.

As with May's investigation on social media metrics, mirrored by CHE Proximity's man on the moon conspiracy theory, this time it's The Monkeys that has gone with a slightly tongue–in–cheek angle.

Given our June feature is looking at how consultancies are shaping adland, there seemed no better fit than an agency that just over a year ago was acquired by a consultancy itself. Following Accenture's acquisition of The Monkeys, the first concern many in the market had was whether the agency's culture and spirit could survive the transition to be part of a management consultancy.

Known for its independent spirit, vibrant culture and diversified approach to advertising and branding, The Monkeys seem far from looking, sounding, or acting like consultants. The front cover pokes fun at this, using a corporate, serious and straight–laced look that shows the team also doesn't mind having a bit of a laugh at their own expense.

As discussed on a panel at our AdNews Media + Marketing Summit Sydney last month, consultancies have been whipping up a storm within our industry. At the event, Deloitte Digital partner David Phillips argued it won't be consultancies that kill the media agency model, instead, media agencies would “kill themselves first”.

This naturally drew ire from some network CEOs.

With senior creative and media talent leading these consultancy marketing and communications–focused hubs, and having heard and seen first–hand what services these firms offer, it's clear to see which elements may encroach on certain areas once dominated by more traditional agencies.

AdNews June 2018

AdNews June 2018

Many also argue consultancies have fewer blemishes than some of the traditional sectors and have a far more transparent and unbiased way of doing business — with their heritage as audit firms adding rigour and clout. However, there are many parts of the elusive customer journey that consultancies can't weigh in on, as our feature looks at. There has been plenty of agency legwork done throughout the industry to move on from past reputations and diversify — which we have seen in bucket loads.

It's also not all roses for consultancies. Following the collapse of government contractor Carillion in the UK, a parliamentary report out of that country suggested intervention is actually needed within the big four firms that dominate the sector — KPMG, Deloitte, EY and PwC. As well as calls for the quartet to spin off the audit part from the consulting part of their businesses, a report in the Financial Times said these companies operated as a “cosy club incapable of providing the degree of independent challenge needed”.

So, while it's unclear at this early stage how this could impact other markets in which the big four operate, it's fair to say that blemishes may also appear on the face of this new shiny sector.

See: AdNews June Edition: Consultancies are coming, Revolver, 72&Sunny

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