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 with Chris Garbutt as chief creative officer.
Capsule checked 9th September 2020
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Historical profile information for TBWA
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.
Adbrands Daily Update 3rd Sep 2020: "Over Sharing". We all know Apple takes data privacy seriously. (Perhaps too seriously in our opinion when it comes to devices belonging to known terrorists or criminals, but that's another story...). This entertaining new campaign - we're guessing it's from TBWA Media Arts Lab rather than developed inhouse but as usual no credits are disclosed - gives a series of illustrations of just how important that could be for the average iPhone user. There are some funny vignettes here as users over-share personal information with random passers-by and not so close friends.
Adbrands Daily Update 25th Feb 2020: "GOAT Camp". TBWA's major new campaign for PepsiCo's Gatorade isn't perhaps the best ad you'll see this week, but it's certainly notable in terms of its scale, all-star cast and extravagant design. Shame then that's it's also more than a little corny in its approach. It strives for the knowing humour we've seen in similar such ads for Nike and Adidas in the past but is it me or are these jokes - Serena's wall-buster, Bolt's signed T-shirts - simply not clever enough? Surely even sporting superstars have the ability to smile at themselves a little. As usual, Messi gives over and above the call of duty in terms of time and effort - most of the others appear to have Skyped in their appearances - and the end results are impressive. But over-earnest and definitely no classic.
Adbrands Daily Update 27th Dec 2019: "Freddie". The Dutch National Lottery - the Staatsloterij - knows that there's one sure way to grab the eyeballs of the masses and that's with a cute animal ad. TBWA Neboko stepped up to the plate last year with an adorable spot about ugly mutt Frekkel, who runs away because he thinks his owners will trade him in for a more handsome hound if they win the New Year's Eve lottery. They're back again this year with the even more adorable Freddie, a homeless hedgehog (or egel, in Dutch) whose rescuer might (or might not) have consigned his lottery ticket to a charitable winter hibernation. As is usual these days, the real stars of the film are not the actors but the CG artists who brought little Freddie to virtual life. A fine (though heavily sugared) way to see out 2019.
Adbrands Daily Update 25th Nov 2019: "The Surprise". Apple - and more especially TBWA\Media Arts Lab - might just have delivered one of the best ads of the holiday season. We've not been too crazy about the tech giant's recent Christmas ads, which have generally tended towards the soppy or the overly manufactured. However this new film marks a return to the truth and humanity which marked out an earlier seasonal special - 2013's 'Misunderstood' - as one of the company's best. Like that, this is a truly fine piece of honest story-telling about a rambunctious pair of pre-teen sisters travelling with their parents to spend the holidays with their recently widowed grandfather, with all the inevitable bumps in the road that such a journey involves. The final film ticks all the boxes: it does an excellent job of selling the benefits of Apple's iPad, while also tackling head-on the emotions of life and death and the whole darn thing. If you fail to find a tear in your eye by the end, then you must have a heart of stone.
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