TBWA Germany | Heimat advertising & marketing assignments

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The local office of TBWA had traditionally been among Germany's leading agencies, but performance flagged dramatically 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 continued to operate separately, but the combined group was Germany's most awarded in 2017. Even so, 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. Alexander Milstein is now COO of TBWA Group Germany. Jung's departure followed the announcement that executive chairman von Bechtolsheim would also depart and not be replaced. His two Heimat co-founders Guido Heffels and Andreas Mengele continue with the group for the time being but are expected to leave in 2021. In the mean time, the role of Heimat CEO Maik Richter has been expanded, and the agency has established satellite offices in Zurich and Vienna. Matthias Storath is chief creative officer. 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 4th November 2020

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Recent stories from Adbrands Update:

Adbrands Daily Update 22nd Apr 2021: "Make Your Own Space". Now that's my kind of gardening! A new ad for German DIY chain Hornbach is always cause for celebration. Long-time agency Heimat deliver the goods once again with a joyful stunt that must have been as much fun to film as it is to watch. Considering the comparative conservatism of the German ad market, it's extraordinary that Heimat and Hornbach have ploughed their own offbeat furrow so successfully for so long. Surprising too that none of their home improvement peers in the US or the rest of Europe have had the nerve to follow suit. All power to them!

Adbrands Daily Update 9th Dec 2020: "GELiked". How about some German hiphop for your Wednesday morning? TBWA Duesseldorf signed up local DJ collective Vibekingz to score this attention-grabbing film for Got2b. In a new example of what we might call Deutsche Amerikanische Freundschaft, that's the formerly US-based hair gel now owned by German home and personal care giant Henkel. As the girls say, "No dripping, no drops". However the feature that really makes this great little video stand out is the layer of dayglo augmented reality applied by animator Richie Brown. Fabulous!

Adbrands Daily Update 17th Sep 2020: "It Looks Impossible. Until You Do It". A new campaign for German DIY giant Hornbach from creative hot-shop Heimat is always cause for celebration. The latest is no exception, and notably it skirts the controversy with which these longtime partners sometimes flirt. Last year's ad in which Hornbach scientists shrinkwrap sweaty German workmen's vests for export to Asia was very funny but understandably caused what the Germans like to call "ein Sh*tstorm". The new spot is something of a creative triumph, repurposing a set-up from that classic sci-fi movie 'The Incredible Shrinking Man' to show how even the most impossible-seeming DIY jobs are do-able with the right equipment and motivation.

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.


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