TBWA\London, once the hottest agency in town, was at best seen as a bland, network office with no local identity, and at worst an agency in crisis
The Challenge was to put them back on the map, projecting a strong personality, local relevance, great creativity and effectiveness to go for fewer, better, bigger pitches and win them.
Everything we talked about clearly explained Disruption, one the industry’s most powerful and enduring approaches, and Media Arts, TBWA\’s new organising principle. We only ever PR’d the best work, not just the biggest ads and positioned the best spokespeople, not just the most senior ones, as authorities on innovation in a changing media landscape.
We didn’t just choose obvious media channels, but worked with everyone from the BBC to petrol-head bloggers to influence wider audiences. And we brought the trades in – partnering them on new initiatives such as Haymarket’s A-List of marketers, the ‘Little Black Book’ and the TBWA\ global blog with Contagious; and made Whitfield Street an exciting place again by inviting journos to hot music events hosted by Stream\.
Despite significant corporate challenges, we achieved 350 pieces of coverage in two years. 80% explicitly communicated creativity, media arts or Disruption and 90% was positive. Coverage was diverse, interesting, and got people talking, whether it was placing the agency in the Apprentice Final or in The Daily Mirror with their anti binge-drinking ad. Spokespeople became highly sought-after commentators, conference speakers and judges.
The agency was asked to pitch for more and more interesting business, and won the likes of Sony Retail and Skype, culminating with the huge GSK account.
And, albeit a pyrrhic victory, the agency relaunch as TBWA\Media Arts London was the most successful we’ve ever done.
“There for us whenever we need you, imaginative, proactive and creative. It’s the unexpected national opportunities that you put our way that really delivers value.” Tim Lindsay, former President TBWA\ Group UK & Ireland, now Chairman, D&AD
“Sam and her team were trusted advisors and became family. They are great at coming up with bigger initiatives, and are a really fun bunch to work with. Oh and the acid test, it worked when there’s a crisis! I can’t recommend them highly enough.” Nikki McCulloch, former Marketing Director, TBWA\London
“Tireless agents and shameless pimps for your brand. You’ll feel the attention; you’ll benefit from the coverage.” Tom Morton, former Executive Planning Director, TBWA\London
“You chicks totally rule. You not only secured STREAM\ a load of press but helped to take away my fear of journalists. We’ve worked and played hard and I’ve enjoyed all of it. I know that sometimes I can be a demanding pain in the ass, but that has not fazed you at all.” Gemma Newland, former MD, STREAM\