The local office of TBWA has traditionally been among Germany's leading agencies, but performance flagged after 2010. It had always retained a strong portfolio of international accounts, as well as local giants Henkel and Adidas, but another major local client Beiersdorf consolidated most of the responsibility for Nivea and other accounts into what was then Draftfcb in 2010. A difficult few years followed. By its own admission TBWA Deutschland lagged behind its other international outposts in creativity following the loss of Beiersdorf, and a series of different managers came and went as the agency tried to restore performance. That situation was finally resolved in 2014 when widely admired Berlin-based independent Heimat accepted an offer to join the group. Its founders took creative control of the combined group, with Matthias von Bechtolsheim named as group executive chairman. The two agencies continue to operate separately. The combined group was Germany's most awarded in 2017, though it was Heimat rather than TBWA which collected the lion's share of the prizes. TBWA's own performance has improved, but it has been a slow process, further impacted by internal tensions and the abrupt departure of new CEO Andreas Geyr in 2018 after less than two years in his role. He was replaced as CEO by Tobias Jung, but his departure too was announced in 2020, and no successor was named. That followed the announcement that executive chairman von Bechtolsheim is also leaving the group, and will himself not be replaced. His two Heimat co-founders Guido Heffels and Andreas Mengele will continue with the group for a further year but they too will leave in 2021. At the same time, the role of Heimat CEO Maik Richter will be expanded. Meanwhile the main TBWA office in Duesseldorf continues to be headed by managing director Kristina Weng. A second TBWA office in Hamburg, previously an offshoot of Heimat, was closed in 2020. TBWA and Heimat are partnered by a small collection of marketing services satellites including shopper marketer Integer, B2B agency RTS Rieger and event manager Do It!
Capsule checked 12th October 2018
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Recent stories from Adbrands Update:
Adbrands Daily Update 2nd Jun 2020: The three founding partners of creative powerhouse Heimat have confirmed plans to depart both that agency and parent group Omnicom. They have gradually loosened their connection to the agency over the past year. First to go is Matthias von Bechtolstein, also currently chairman of the wider TBWA group in Germany. He will step down from the business at the end of June to concentrate on private projects under the banner of his personal investment company Laughing Tuna. Co-founders Andreas Mengele and Guido Heffels will remain with Heimat until June 2021. They are still closely connected to two key Heimat customers, Hornbach and Germany's FDP political party.
Adbrands Daily Update 18th Feb 2020: "In Rhythm With Nature". You can always rely on TBWA's Berlin-based powerhouse Heimat to come up with an ad that grabs your eyeballs and won't let go. Here's a startling performance art-piece for premium German skincare manufacturer Dr Hauschka, which specialises in holistic and ethically produced natural cosmetics. There's no credit available for the dancer herself, but that's a stunning performance.
Adbrands Daily Update 3rd Oct 2019: "Every Job Brings You Closer Together". New ads from TBWA's German hotshop Heimat for DIY client Hornbach come along only once or twice a year, but are always cause for celebration. These longtime partners have one of the most productive relationships in the local industry, turning out a series of ads that are unusually quirky and more creatively adventurous than just about any others in what is otherwise a highly conservative and promotion-driven market. It's impossible to imagine equivalent stores like Home Depot in the US or the UK's B&Q signing off on a concept like this, or indeed any others of Heimat's previous work for Hornbach. The idea is pure genius: the love affair between a craftsman and his favourite tool.
Adbrands Social Media 11th Apr 2019: "Morning Belongs To Us". There's a marked change of strategy for the latest campaign from TBWA's Heimat for German home improvement chain Hornbach. The last ad a few weeks ago - in which the sweaty garments of German DIY-ers are shrinkwrapped and sold to Asian citydwellers - prompted what the Germans like to describe as "ein Shitstorm", no doubt deservedly so even if we did contribute to the furore by posting it here ourselves. No risk of that with the new campaign, a lovely paean to the peace and tranquillity of early morning manual labour.
Adbrands Social Media 15th Mar 2019: "The Real Smell of Spring". Any new campaign for German home & garden improvement chain Hornbach from longtime agency Heimat is an event worth savouring. This latest is no exception, though we're not at all sure how politically correct it is. At the very least it pushes the boundaries of good taste further even than previous campaigns from this agency and that client. The idea being, of course, that Spring is the busiest time in any large garden, and the smell of the season is not so much blossom as sheer hard work. The results are bizarre but brilliant. [UPDATED 29th March 2019: Perhaps not too surprisingly, the ad caused considerable offence among some Asian adwatchers, prompting a petition of protest and calls for its withdrawal.]
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