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