Andersen's accenture gets $175 mil ad blitz

By Published on .

What's in a name? Well, for Andersen Consulting, the answer is about $175 million. That's how much the global management and technology consulting company will invest in advertising and promotion to launch its new company moniker-accenture.

To come up with the new name, the company enlisted the services of high profile identity and design shop Landor, San Francisco, owned by Young & Rubicam, which sifted through 5,500 options. Andersen spent another $4 million just to find the "wordmark," according to Jim Murphy, global managing director for marketing and communications. "In any key [company] listing in our category," said Mr. Murphy, "we remain on top alphabetically. That was a factor."

In addition to Landor, other Young & Rubicam units will work on the campaign, including Burson Marsteller for public relations; Impiric for direct; and Y&R Advertising. The effort will launch next year in two phases.


First, the company will begin the introduction of the new name with an ad blitz in January, including radio, airport billboards, online advertising and an ambitious TV push on college bowl games and the Super Bowl. Print will also support in publications including The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Forbes and Business Week.

After a month, a follow up business-to-business effort will run on TV and in print and airports, repositioning the company as a business network by underscoring its joint ventures. One such venture is Avanade, a 50-50 partnership between Andersen and Microsoft Corp. that was recently launched, defined as "a services company aimed at exploiting opportunities with Microsoft's 2000 platform," by Mr. Murphy.

Another consumer product, Imaginebroadband, a digital cable broadband, is a joint venture between Andersen and Telewest, a U.K. based cable company. Also highlighted will be e-peopleserve, a human resources outsourcing joint venture between Andersen and BT. The company is developing a marketing services network in the U.S., U.K. and Europe.

Ironically, even after all Landor's work, accenture was discovered in the company's own backyard by an Andersen employee. Don't fish for a definition in Funk & Wagnall's dictionary; there's no such word. Kim Peterson, a senior manager at Andersen's Resources Global Market Unit, in Oslo, Norway, created it himself by combining the word "accent" with "future." It also contains a "greater than" sign hanging over the "t" like an accent mark, but the mark doesn't mean the consonant should be pronounced differently. That's a design that "expresses the way forward, a vision greater than today's limits," according to a company press release.

"Basically, I wanted a word that had a lot of positive associations to it," said Mr. Peterson, "and that would emphasize accomplishment and accelerated growth-the terms that we have been talking about in the firm-as well as adventure and excitement and also the future. Coupling those words gave me the idea-it just came."

For his efforts, Mr. Peterson was rewarded with a trip to Melbourne, Australia, to watch a golf championship sponsored by the company.

Landor helped the company evaluate thousands of potential names that were generated by Landor and from a company-wide initiative dubbed "brainstorming," in which the Andersen asked employees to contribute ideas. The initial list was paired down to 550, then down to 50, then 10 names, and finally four. But Andersen would not disclose the finalists. "We might still be using them," Mr. Murphy said.

An international arbitrator gave the company 90 days to relinquish its old name. The consulting company legally split from the accounting and consulting firm Arthur Anderson in August.

"It was a unique and very challenging assignment," said Bill Smith, managing director-client services at Landor. Added Mr. Murphy: "We view the name as something we have to put meaning into, over time," said Mr. Murphy. "It's not as complete a meaning as we'd like, but at least accent on the future is a good beginning."

Most Popular
In this article: