Accenture, formerly Andersen Consulting, was ordered by a judge on Aug. 7, 2000, to change its name, during arbitration with its former sister company Arthur Andersen. Following the judge’s ruling, the former Andersen Consulting had less than four months to launch under a new name and establish new positioning in the marketplace.
"We wanted to make sure we generated awareness very quickly of this new brand," said Teresa Poggenpohl, director of global branding, advertising and research at New York-based Accenture.
The company didn’t waste any time, huddling with its agency of record, Young & Rubicam, to launch the first phase of an integrated campaign on Nov. 1, 2000. A slew of TV, print and outdoor ads showed a ripped-through signature of its former name with the date 01-01-01 as its "rebirth."
In January, Accenture launched a high-profile, estimated $175 million rebranding campaign including Super Bowl spots, sponsorship of a pro golf tournament and unusual and innovative tactics such as putting its name on hang gliders. The company also did the expected, unleashing a barrage of ads on cable networks CNN and CNBC, in major business publications and on outdoor signage, most with the tagline, "Now it gets interesting."
The TV, print and outdoor ads featured innovative uses of technology, such as virtual surgery and bacteria in computer chip technology. The message remains consistent throughout the advertising and positions Accenture not only as a consultant on business but also on technology.
While some industry observers argued in those early months about the new name’s appeal, Accenture quickly became known in boardrooms across the globe.
The campaign is stellar work, encompassing original ideas, beautiful photography and clear messaging. Most important, it succeeded. While Andersen Consulting was never an oft-mentioned name among corporate decision-makers, Accenture well established its new name in the marketplace. At the end of May, it had achieved an increase of between 75% and 100% over its former awareness, while its goal was 50%.