KPMG to choose global ad agency for $30 mil effort

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KPMG International will decide this month on a new agency for its global ad efforts.

The consultancy is reviewing its account, estimated at $20 million to $30 million. Incumbent Lowe Lintas & Partners Worldwide, New York, is participating in the review along with New York shops J. Walter Thompson Co. and BBDO Worldwide.

"The decision was made to undertake the global review based on the resounding success of the U.S. campaign. Rather than extend the U.S. campaign, we wanted to review all our options," said Tim Pearson, global managing partner-marketing and communications.

Lowe, which won the account in late 1997, created a 1998 campaign tagged "It's time for clarity." That effort included TV, print and outdoor that touted KPMG's abilities to navigate rapidly changing world markets. The campaign later extended to Australia, Germany, New Zealand and the Netherlands, where local Lowe Lintas offices executed it, Mr. Pearson said.

LATE MAY DECISION

The review is being handled in-house; Mr. Pearson said he expects to make a decision May 26. Final pitches include a creative assignment, but Mr. Pearson would not disclose what that assignment was.

KPMG spent $26 million in the U.S. in measured media in 1999, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

The Big 5 professional services companies -- Arthur Andersen, Deloitte & Touche, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PriceWaterhouseCoopers -- all have stepped up their efforts, due to the healthy economy and the e-commerce boom.

Many repositioned and even shed units to take on more consulting work with online start-ups in exchange for potentially profitable equity. That work can be a conflict for accounting companies, which must bow to government regulations barring accountants from owning stock in companies they audit.

COMPETITORS ACTIVE

Deloitte & Touche, which placed a global agency review on hold last year, unveiled a new campaign last week. The effort, from Keiler & Co., Wilton, Conn., includes TV and print. Ads continue the 3-year-old "The answer is" theme, which showcases real clients and what Deloitte did for them. This time, ads will feature clients including Navistar, Avis and 3Com.

In February, Arthur Andersen launched a new Web site and direct campaign to position the company as an expert source in the new economy. That effort, from OgilvyOne and Ogilvy Interactive, both Chicago, included a new corporate identity and direct mail to company CEOs (AA, Feb. 14).

Also in February, PriceWaterhouseCoopers broke the first ads in a campaign to support the split of its accounting and consulting businesses. An effort from Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Boston, included print explaining the decision (AA, March 6).

A similar effort from Ernst & Young is expected later this year, when it completes the sale of its consulting units to French consultancy Cap Gemini in June.

Contributing: Richard Linnett.

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