PERSPECTIVE: Unholy alliance gets fighting chance with the rise of new media

Variety is the mother of enjoyment, apparently, and in search of some fresh enjoyment I tried to find a subject for this column that was not in anyway related, at all, in any part, to the internet.

Variety is the mother of enjoyment, apparently, and in search of

some fresh enjoyment I tried to find a subject for this column that was

not in anyway related, at all, in any part, to the internet.



I failed. Take one of the most interesting manoeuvres in the world of

advertising this week: the PricewaterhouseCoopers and CDP alliance.



On the face of it, the deal looks like a fresh resolution to the old

conundrum about management consultants snaffling advertising agencies’

business: if you can’t beat ’em, sign an alliance, draw up a joint

mission statement and provide a service that takes clients from the

boardroom to the billboard or to wherever else they need to

advertise.



Except that, inevitably, it turns out that it is new media that has

finally thrown the adman and the management consultant into each other’s

arms.



After years of nervously eyeing each other over the client’s shoulder,

the boys in the City and the boys in Soho have apparently found an

irresistible way of working together. And the internet has oiled the

lines of communication, forged the relationship and provided a platform

for the venture.



PricewaterhouseCoopers is the world’s largest professional services

company.



CDP isn’t in the same league in the agency world, but let’s not be

picky.



The alliance of the pair has been branded Determinet and will combine

’the creative and media expertise’ (the press release says) of CDP with

PricewaterhouseCoopers’ consulting experience, and they’ve brought in

Microsoft and Sun Microsystems to give it all some technical welly.



Determinet will provide an integrated service for established companies

that are looking for a web solution and for new internet companies with

a product idea but little business acumen and no marketing

experience.



All very 21st century, but scratch beneath the press release and this is

still an old-fashioned pairing of two companies at either end of the

client’s food chain. Management consultants have long made noises about

offering the branding advice advertisers would expect from their

agencies while agencies have argued that they should have a place in the

boardroom, offering clients advice that goes beyond the execution of a

30-second TV ad.



In truth, both parties have resolutely failed to provide their own

one-stop solution. The consultants never managed to graft on a

sensitivity for branding or creativity to their financially driven

approach; agencies have failed miserably to up their status in clients’

eyes enough to be able to whisper in the chief executive’s ear about

business strategy.



But the interesting question will be where Determinet pitches its fees.

Because if ever consultants and agencies were leagues apart it is in

their claims to the client’s purse.





Campaign’s editor, Caroline Marshall, is on maternity leave.



claire.beale@haynet.com.



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