KPMG to tout 'new economy' savvy

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KPMG International will break an estimated $90 million global campaign this fall to position itself as a "new economy" problem solver. The professional services company last week hired J. Walter Thompson Co., New York, as agency of record for the account.

The global branding effort will continue KPMG's current focus on its ability to help clients steer through world markets, particularly in the e-business marketplace. The campaign will include regional print and broadcast buys around the world, as well as national media in various world markets.

STRONG JWT PRINT WORK

JWT won the account based on a strong presentation of print work, said Tim Pearson, global managing partner, marketing and communications.

"They showed--in the body of print work they presented--how the KPMG identity could be made proprietary . . . they simply presented a special idea," said Mr. Pearson. He did not describe the idea, but said the concept lends itself well to translating into local executions as JWT adapts the campaign for individual markets.

JWT pitched in the in-house review against New York shops BBDO Worldwide and Bates Worldwide. Incumbent Lowe Lintas & Partners Worldwide, New York, participated initially, but withdrew from the review in mid-May and said it would seek out another professional services client.

A KPMG spokesman said the company was satisfied with Lowe's creative, but had noticed some deficiencies in strategic planning and account management. Lowe was "a real participant in the review. It was up to them to address the issues we raised," said the spokesman.

Lowe executives privately admitted they were frustrated by what they saw as the client's low spending combined with high-maintenance demands. Agency executives were disappointed when KPMG's management placed the account in review this spring, saying its global expansion required a review of all the marketing options.

Lowe, which won the account in late 1997, created a 1998 campaign tagged "It's time for clarity," which touted KPMG's abilities to navigate rapidly changing world markets. The U.S. campaign was judged a success and extended to Australia, Germany, the Netherlands and New Zealand.

STEPPED-UP RIVALRY

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

Many companies have repositioned and even shed units in order to take on more consulting work with online startups in exchange for potentially profitable equity.

That work can be a conflict for accounting companies, which have to bow to government regulations that bar accountants from owning stock in companies they audit.

Deloitte & Touche, which placed a global agency review on hold last year, broke ads last month from Keiler & Co., Farmington, Conn., that continue the 3-year-old "The answer is" creative showcasing real clients.

NEW ANDERSEN EFFORTS

Arthur Andersen launched a new Web site (arthurandersen.com) and a direct campaign from OgilvyOne and Ogilvy Interactive, Chicago, in February to position the company as an expert source in the "new economy."

Also in February, PricewaterhouseCoopers broke the first ads in a campaign from Hill, Holiday, Boston, to support the split of its accounting and consulting businesses.

A similar effort from Ernst & Young by D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles is expected later this year, after it completes the sale of its consulting units to French consulting company Cap Gemini in June.

Copyright June 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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