TBWA\London has earned a reputation as one of the more fragile outposts of TBWA Worldwide's global network following several management upheavals since 2005. The agency was originally welded together from several high profile mergers and takeovers in the closing years of the 1990s, including of admired independent GGT. The enlarged agency made a name for itself as a creative hothouse in the late 1990s and early 2000s, largely as a result of high-profile creative director Trevor Beattie. Yet gradually, TBWA's growth slowed. Beattie's resignation in 2005 along with two senior colleagues (to form Beattie McGuinness Bungay) followed a string of serious account losses, and several other clients moved elsewhere following their departure. TBWA's position appeared to stabilise for a few years but it failed to recapture its former glory. Indeed, the lack of substantial improvement resulted in an abrupt new purge of senior management at the end of 2009, and several further account reviews. Another management overhaul in 2012 - this time under Peter Souter, a former creative chief of AMV BBDO - was more successful, leading to a modest improvement in performance. A new step forward was TBWA's purchase of a controlling stake in fast-growing Lucky Generals. The Generals team resisted a full merger of the two agencies, which continue to operate side-by-side, albeit from separate locations. Souter remains as chairman but Sara Tate moved across from Lucky Generals in 2017 to become chief executive of TBWA London. Andy Jex is chief creative director. The London flagship is supported by an office in Manchester, previously known as BDH/TBWA. Fergus McCallum is CEO. Nielsen (in Campaign) estimated combined billings for the two outposts of £204m in 2018, putting TBWA just outside the UK Top Ten. However, reported figures are significantly lower. TBWA UK Group is the parent entity for the London and Manchester agencies, as well as Lucky Generals, production division EG+ and translation agency Mother Tongue. It reported gross billings of £98.2m in 2018, gross profit of £63.2m and a net loss of £3.8m. That figure included a £5m impairment charge against the Manchester office in respect of "a substantial reduction in activity".
Capsule checked 20th January 2020
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Historical profile information for TBWA UK
Adbrands Weekly Update 23rd Feb 2017: After several weeks of rumour and speculation, Omnicom's TBWA network confirmed the acquisition of a majority shareholding in London creative agency Lucky Generals for an undisclosed price. That agency will not be combined with the existing TBWA London unit, but will co-exist as a separate entity under its own brand and management team within the wider TBWA UK Group. Nor are Lucky Generals partners Helen Calcraft, Andy Nairn and Danny Brooke-Taylor expected at this point to take on any direct management responsibility for TBWA London, despite the simultaneous departure of its chief executive Richard Stainer and chief strategy officer Amelia Torode. According to Campaign, the Lucky Generals partners will assist TBWA worldwide CEO Troy Ruhanen in his search for a new leadership team.
Adbrands Weekly Update 18th Jan 2017: Omnicom was reported to be in talks to acquire a stake in highly regarded London independent Lucky Generals, with a view to boosting the profile of the under-performing local outpost of TBWA. Despite a succession of different managers, TBWA London has struggled for years to recapture the glory it enjoyed in the late 1990s and early 2000s under creative director Trevor Beattie and chief executive Andrew McGuinness. Omnicom is no doubt hoping to replicate the successful merger of DDB London and Adam & Eve. That trick has already worked in Germany where TBWA's local outpost was re-invigorated by the management team behind creative hotshop Heimat. Lucky Generals' three founders Danny Brooke-Taylor, Helen Calcraft and Andy Nairn might be able to work similar magic at TBWA London.
Adbrands Weekly Update 21st May 2015: Ads Of The Week "X". There's nothing like the words "banned video" to get pulses racing. TBWA\London commissioned photographer Rankin and others to contribute to this stylish film to promote lingerie and erotic toys retailer Coco De Mer. It features some striking imagery, as you'd expect from Rankin, but don't worry: despite all the ballyhoo, it's not as raunchy as it would like to make you think it is. Even your maiden aunt might consider it SFW. Just girls' chests and stuff that looks like willies...
Adbrands Weekly Update 26th Sep 2013: Another UK advertising veteran, Paul Weinberger - the creative head who managed the Tesco account for many years at Lowe and later Red Brick Road - has joined TBWA UK to work on the account of newly won Lidl.
Adbrands Weekly Update 13th Jun 2013: TBWA UK president Lindsey Evans resigned after just eight months in that role in order to return to Australia for family reasons. Peter Souter remains CEO of the agency, and a successor to Evans will be appointed in due course.
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