A multinational accounting, tax and consulting firm has set up Ernie, a “ground-breaking” World Wide Web site designed by Siegel & Gale in New York.
The move by Ernst & Young “will change the way fast-growing companies use professional services”, claims a consultancy spokesman.
Ernie comprises a Web site accessible only to subscribers, with an adjacent site explaining the service to the public. “It’s the first step for Ernst & Young in using a low-cost distribution facility,” says Steven Dolbow, director of Siegel & Gale’s interactive media group. “There is an awful lot of new-business potential.”
The Ernie character was created “to put a human face on the new style of consulting for the 1990s and beyond,” he adds. Ernie is in his 30s or 40s and is designed to represent the accountant’s staff. Users can question Ernie on tax accounting, IT, and finance.
Further incarnations of the character may follow and Siegel & Gale has in mind a female equivalent or other nationalities.
The consultancy also handled literature, mousepads and ads for last week’s launch and is working on a CD-ROM to support the sales force. The open access Web pages are at http://ernie.ey.com.
Siegel & Gale is currently developing a Web site for another large financial services firm, the identity of which has not been disclosed.