Accountancy giant PwC has acquired Stockholm—based design agency Pond for an undisclosed sum as it seeks to cement its advance into advertising via its digital services division.
The consultancy firm has embarked on an acquisition spree of late to buy its way into the ad sector and give it the scale required to compete with established players in the industry. A strategy which has seen it drawn to Sweden to snap up Pond’s design arm, giving it access to the creative talent behind campaigns for Jameson and Volkswagen.
Industry heavyweights from WPP’sSir Martin Sorrell down have thus far given short shrift to the threat posed by consultancies such as PwC to their business but PwC’s global digital leader Tom Puthiyamadam thinks this is because they’re fighting yesterday’s battles.
Asked why the two hadn’t yet come to direct blows Puthiyamadam said: “He’s in the wrong pitches. He’s actually solving the wrong problem. He’s solving yesterday’s problem on driving more leads, through better campaigns and better creative. Meanwhile, the CEO, his reaction is: ‘I want to take down my marketing spend, not increase it’.”
Instead Puthiyamadam is pushing solutions to related business problems such as customer support and logistics to augment its marketing offer.
PwC’s fast growing digital services division has added 4,127 employees over the past year alone to bring its global workforce to 12,776, dovetailing with a 63% rise in revenues to $3.27bn, fueled by the purchase of businesses such as cloud computing provider NSI DMCC, creative agency Fluid and cybersecurity consultants Everett.
PwC was left with a crisis PR challenge of its own making at this year's Oscars when two of its accountants blundered by mistakenly handing over the wrong envelope - leading to the wrong picture being announced as winner.