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TBWA Germany / Heimat

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The local office of TBWA is among Germany's leading agencies, but performance had flagged since 2010. TBWA Deutschland has a portfolio of international accounts anchored by local giants Henkel and Adidas. However another major local client Beiersdorf consolidated most of the responsibility for Nivea and other accounts into what was then Draftfcb in 2010. The group strengthened its position considerably in 2014 with the acquisition of admired independent Heimat, whose directors were also given management control of the local TBWA office. The combined group was Germany's most awarded in 2017.


Click here for a TBWA\Germany client listing from Adbrands Account Assignments


See ranking of Leading Agencies in Germany

Brand & Activities

The group is legally headquartered in Duesseldorf, but the main agency was until recently in Berlin. There is a third outpost in Hamburg as well as supporting offices in Munich and Stuttgart. In 2012, the group's structure was overhauled, with the main outposts in Duesseldorf, Berlin and Hamburg assigned different duties. From 2013, TBWA Hamburg was focused more tightly on healthcare and shopper marketing, while Duesseldorf became the home of the main advertising business. Berlin was downgraded, with the local agency replaced by a new digital-led innovation unit under the name TBWA Create Lab.

The German group became the network's de facto European HQ in 2007 following the promotion of local head Perry Valkenburg to regional president of TBWA\Europe. However TBWA\Germany has by its own admission lagged behind other international outposts in creativity since the loss of Beiersdorf, and TBWA\Europe later transferred to Paris. The German agency bolstered its management team in 2004 and 2005 with a string of new hires designed to raise its creative output. That experiment was not entirely successful and CEO Hubertus von Lobenstein stepped down in 2009, to be replaced by Sven Becker. However a certain degree of instability remained. Creative heads Stefan Schmidt and Kurt-Georg Dieckert quit the agency at the end of 2011 to open their own shop. They were eventually replaced by Jason Schragger.

A more drastic overhaul of TBWA's German operations took place in 2014 with the acquisition of a 70% holding in admired Berlin-based independent Heimat and the appointment of its CEO Matthias von Bechtolsheim as group executive chairman. Sven Becker announced his resignation as TBWA group CEO. Instead, the CEOs of TBWA's various local subsidiaries now sit on an executive committee led by von Bechtolsheim. Heimat continues under its own name, working in parallel with the main TBWA agency in Duesseldorf. Von Bechtolsheim and co-founders Guido Heffels and Andreas Mengele retain a 30% stake in their own agency, and also in TBWA Duesseldorf. Alexander Milstein is group COO.

In 2016, the group attempted to reignite performance at the still sleepy TBWA office by recruiting star manager Andreas Geyr (ex-Havas, ex-Axel Springer) and chief creative officer Christian Mommertz to lead the agency, reporting to Matthias von Bechtolsheim. Their appointment led to several account wins. However, Geyr was abruptly and unexpectedly ousted in Jan 2018, apparently as a result of tensions with local chairman von Bechtolstein. Heimat manager Tobias Jung was named as his successor.

Germany was among the earliest outposts of the TBWA network, first established in 1972. The main agency can also call upon the resources of a collection of more specialised marketing services shops. These include event & field marketer Do It, healthcare agency TBWA+, shopper marketing agency Global Shopper and B2B specialist RTS Riegerteam. Local interactive agency Digerati was acquired in 2002, and was later absorbed into the German office of affiliated digital/direct agency Tequila. However Tequila Germany was itself absorbed into the main TBWA agency at the end of 2009. In 2010, the group established a new digital unit by absorbing local agency No More Sleep into TBWA Berlin. A CRM unit was created under the name i-365 in a joint venture with independent telesales group BUW. The TBWA group's Digital Arts Network concept was rolled out in Germany for the first time towards the end of 2012, consolidating its countrywide digital offering under a single local team.

Heimat launched in 1999. Its three co-founders had previously worked together at Springer & Jacoby, then Germany's most admired creative agency. The larger company provided launch capital in return for a minority shareholding, which was eventually reacquired by the Heimat partners in 2007. Heimat launched its own promotional marketing unit in 2016 under the name Heimat Active.

Last full revision 11th October 2016

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