QuickBooks looks beyond accounting

Danny DeVito stars in a new platform aimed at showing how the brand serves the broader needs of entrepreneurs.

QuickBooks has enlisted Danny DeVito to add humour to a new platform, which positions the brand as a solution for small business tasks that go beyond accounting.

In the campaign’s hero spot, DeVito finds himself coaching a number of real-life entrepreneurs, from doggy daycare owners to personal trainers and electricians, suggesting they utilize QuickBook’s suite of small business tools to more easily and effectively manage all elements of their small business.

The campaign also features a series of “instructional videos,” featuring DeVito showing the ease at which small business owners are able to handle tasks like time tracking, invoicing and expense sorting.

The campaign, which was created by TBWA\Chiat\Day Los Angeles, is running in Canada, the U.S., the U.K and Australia. Headspace Marketing adapted the ads for the Quebec market, hiring a voice actor who has previously dubbed many of DeVito’s Hollywood roles.

While this year’s campaign maintains a focus on small businesses established last year, Martin Fecko, director of marketing for QuickBooks and ProFile at Intuit, points out a couple of ways in which the approach this year is different.

First, last year’s campaign took a more empathetic route, showing the struggles small business owners have gone through in an effort to connect to those who might be dealing with a similar situation. This year’s campaign still shows real entrepreneurs handling different situations, but leans on DeVito’s appeal and humour to create that relatability in a more lighthearted way.

But the other way is positioning QuickBooks less as accounting software and more as “a suite of better business tools,” Fecko says.

“The premise is still to empower small business owners and the self-employed to get the time and money they deserve,” he adds. “Nobody finds accounting software sexy. Breaking through that clutter and having the consideration mindset is paramount. If we can speak about our brand in a way we’ve generally never done before, it can break through all the other noise that happens from an advertising and brand perspective.”

By positioning its product this way, Intuit is able to reach a target of non-intending small business owners: those who might not even know they have a problem that needs to be solved, and therefore might not even be looking for “accounting software.”

“If someone knows they need accounting software, we win all day long,” Fecko says. “‘Business tools’ are more far reaching, and the concepts behind them like cash flow management and invoicing are essentially the toolbox that every small business owner needs.”

That example is one that is particularly apt for this market: 64% of Canadians struggle with cashflow, and it is the top reason small business owners here go out of business.

In the weeks ahead, the brand will also be launching a digital and social initiative for the Canadian market. QuickBooks will be engaging a handful of to-be-revealed Canadian small business owners and self-employed workers will be creating and sharing content through their social channels.