TBWA is the youngest of the three global advertising networks within the Omnicom group. It is positioned as an alternative agency brand, with a reputation for quirky or "disruptive" work. "Disruption" has indeed become the agency's over-riding concept, crystalising a process of challenging or overturning existing conventions about brand marketing in its creative work. TBWA is best known for its work for keystone clients such as Absolut (until 2013), Nissan, Adidas and especially Apple, for whom it has created a series of iconic marketing campaigns stretching back almost 40 years. First established in France in 1970, and acquired by Omnicom two decades later, the agency expanded rapidly during the 1990s to become a worthy partner to BBDO and DDB. Two key developments in the growth of TBWA were its merger with Los Angeles agency Chiat Day in 1995 - its US offices retain the TBWA Chiat Day name - and with Anglo-French network GGT BDDP three years later. TBWA retains a reputation for challenging or controversial creative work, although its output has in truth been considerably less disruptive in recent years than in the agency's mid 2000s heyday. AdAge estimated global revenues of $1.5bn in 2019. The network has a good geographic profile, but its real strength is contributed by hubs in a few local markets. It has taken steps to strengthen weaker outposts with key acquistions such as Heimat in Germany and Lucky Generals in the UK, and TBWA also operates a small network of satellite agencies including Zimmerman in the US and 180 Kingsday in the Netherlands. Nissan United is a long-established joint venture with Hakuhodo to service the global Nissan account. Most of the network's subsidiary marketing services agencies were either rolled back into the main agency or consolidated within either TBWA\Digital Arts Network or promotion and experiential agency Integer. However TBWA\Worldhealth remains separate, reporting not to the main TBWA network but to Omnicom Health Group. Troy Ruhanen is global CEO of TBWA. Chris Garbutt, global chief creative officer since 2017, departed the agency at the end of 2020 and was not immediately replaced. John Hunt is global creative chairman.
Capsule checked 9th September 2020
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Adbrands Daily Update 15th Dec 2020: "Believe in Luck". The New Year's Eve Lottery from the Staatsloterij of the Netherlands, like its Christmas counterpart in Spain, is becoming a cultural institution. So too is its accompanying animal-themed ad campaign from TBWA\Neboko. After last year's Freddie the hedgehog and 2018's Frekkel the dog, this year's star creature is Frummel the cat. But wait, don't black cats signify bad luck? Not always... Like so many seasonal campaigns, the message this year is about helping others. At New Year's Eve, suggests Staatsloterij CMO Arno de Jong, "the best kind of happiness is someone else's".
Adbrands Daily Update 13th Nov 2020: "An Apple Original". TBWA\Media Arts Lab has added an interesting twist to the usual style of programme portfolio commercial in this new campaign for Apple TV+... Although some viewers might be reminded of Droga5's recent ads for The New York Times, which offered a similar combination of visuals and self-correcting typescript. Still, as ads of this sort go, it's certainly a cut above, and does a fine job of selling the quirks (such as they are) in Apple's original programming. Now they just need to make it easier for us folks with slightly older smart TVs to access the app direct rather than streamed from a mobile. (Definitely NOT recommended!)
Adbrands Daily Update 9th Nov 2020: TBWA's global chief creative officer Chris Garbutt has left the agency to launch a new venture. "After five incredible years with TBWA, I'm taking the next step in my career," Garbutt said. "For now, I just want to say how proud I am of this company and the people who have made this experience so worthwhile." The new business is Pltfrmr (pronounced 'Platformer'), a partnership with former McDonald's marketer Colin Mitchell that will tackle ad briefs using a global network of freelance creatives and production personnel. TBWA told Adweek that it does not plan to immediately fill the global CCO role, though it has not ruled out hiring or promoting someone into the position. John Hunt remains global creative chairman.
Adbrands Daily Update 28th Oct 2020: "Make Movies Like The Movies". Apple makes another bid to establish iPhone as the new go-to tool for moviemakers on a budget with this entertaining spot from star director Kim Gehrig. Itself made on an iPhone 12 Pro no doubt. Added bonuses include luminous photography from Oscar-winning DP Linus Sandgren - best known for 'La La Land' and 'First Man' - and an original score by Danny Elfman. The film serves as a useful little compendium of tips and handy accessories to convert your smartphone into a professional filmmaking tool. Some of those video rigs are especially interesting. It's always impossible to know where Apple's ads originate, but we'd hazard a guess this one comes from TBWA\Media Arts Lab rather than Apple's inhouse agency.
Adbrands Daily Update 3rd Sep 2020: "Egg Fried Rice". So you probably never knew how egg fried rice was first invented... Passion Pictures prove yet again that they're the masters of commercials animation production in a delightful new campaign from TBWA Singapore for Standard Chartered Bank. You don't necessarily expect warm and fuzzy from a bank, especially not one that tends to specialise in commercial lending, but TBWA truly delivers the goods here. It's the tale of two communities, one that farms chickens and the other which grows rice, that are brought together by the actions of one hungry hen. The character and production design is phemonenal, with a charming script. Director is stop motion maestro Mark Waring, who cut his teeth on Tim Burton's 'The Corpse Bride' and Wes Anderson's 'Isle of Dogs' among many others, and also helmed MoneySupermarket's brilliant 'Epic Action Man' spot a couple of years back.
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