SAS taps McCann Worldgroup as first global brand agency partner in 20 years
SAS, the multinational developer of analytics software, has selected McCann Worldgroup as its global brand agency partner following a competitive pitch launched in February.
Jennifer Chase, senior VP and head of marketing for SAS, tells Ad Age that this is the first time the company has hired an external agency in 20 years. She says the decision comes as SAS looks to better connect with consumers.
“For the past 40 years as a company, we've let the power of our analytics and AI solutions speak for themselves,” Chase says. “We have more experience in AI and analytics than literally anyone. We need to be bolder and tell our story ourselves. We recognize we need to have a different relationship with customers; we need to have more of an emotional relationship.”
According to COMvergence estimates, SAS has spent $5.3 million on measured media in the U.S. annually. But Chase says the company is planning to ramp up marketing with the help of McCann and MRM, the Interpublic Group of Cos. customer relationship arm.
Chase declined to say what other agencies competed for the business. She says the pitch involved “many stakeholders” and the company selected McCann because the agency showed it has the chops to be both “creative and highly analytical.”
Under the new partnership, McCann will work with SAS's internal 20-person marketing team to develop a new brand platform “to reintroduce the world to SAS,” according to the companies. The agency said it will also create a global integrated campaign “highlighting the company’s ability to help organizations in their digital transformations through innovative analytics software and services.”
Chase says she expects the campaign to debut sometime in the fourth quarter.
“I had many conversations with my executives about why we're going after branding and placing our bets there,” Chase says, explaining that it comes down to “how customers see us.” She says the company will be moderating the financial results of its foray into brand marketing.
Devika Bulchandani, president of McCann North America, added in a statement: “We are excited to enter this partnership with SAS and be awarded the role as global brand agency partner. SAS is the dominant global force in analytics, and we look forward to working with them to tell a story that we don’t think the public knows—a bold, meaningful narrative about one of the world’s most exciting and innovative organizations and cultures.”
SAS is based in Cary, North Carolina. It was founded in 1976 and today develops and markets a suite of analytics software that helps businesses access, manage, analyze and report on data to aid in decision-making. Its top competitors include Microsoft, IBM, SAP and Oracle.