The worlds of creativity and digital experiences are blending, leading creative agencies to evolve the way they develop and produce work.
The shift has sparked Omnicom-owned creative collective TBWA\Worldwide to hire R/GA exec Ben Williams as its first global chief creative experience officer, a role that fuses the worlds of creativity and experience. Williams will be based in Los Angeles.
Williams, who joins after almost 10 years as global chief experience officer at R/GA, will set the tone for TBWA’s global creative approach, working closely with chief creative officers at the agencies across its collective.
He will also lead TBWA’s “global creative core,” a roundtable of the group’s top creative leadership, and work closely on new business efforts and with top global clients including Adidas, Apple, McDonald’s, Nissan and PepsiCo, to infuse experience-led thinking into their creative approach.
“The industry, the work and our clients have been evolving over the past few years, but even more so over the last 12 to 18 months,” Williams said. “This role is reflective of that, and allows us to think about creativity from the broader perspective of how people engage with brands today.”
Williams will work closely with creative leadership to think about how an idea can extend beyond a campaign or traditional storytelling, and vice versa, how experiences can link back to brand communications.
TBWA, which employs more than 11,000 people in 95 countries, is “well-equipped” to do that based on the caliber of talent in its collective, Williams explained. The group is already bringing this thinking to life across its network, but Williams hopes to “broaden and connect that approach.”
TBWA’s positioning around “disruption” was appealing to Williams, who has built his career on applying creativity to shake up the status quo. Prior to R/GA, he was at Publicis NY and AKQA, and he has worked with clients including Nike, Air Jordan and Converse.
“I've tried to disrupt incremental change and the expected, whether from the marketplace or our clients,” Williams said. “Challenging the status quo is my M.O, so there’s a nice overlap between myself and where TBWA has been and is headed.”
TBWA has been without a global CCO for about a year after Chris Garbutt left the agency to start his own venture with former McDonald’s SVP of marketing Colin Mitchell. Garbutt has since left that venture to become chief creative officer at Vice Media Group and co-president at Vice’s agency, Virtue.