School Reports 2018: TBWA\London

Type of agency & ownership:  Disruptive company, owned by Omnicom
Nielsen billings 2017: £179m (-9%)
Declared income: n/s*
Total accounts at year end: 21
Accounts won: 3 (biggest: n/s)
Accounts lost: 2 (biggest: Airbnb)
Number of staff: 122 (-23%)
Key personnel: Sara Tate, chief executive; Andy Jex, chief creative officer; Anna Vogt, chief strategy officer; Gary Smith, chief financial officer
Star player: Poppy Manning, head of production

TBWA, which has long billed itself as the "pirates" agency of disruptors, had lost its edge in recent years. In 2017, however, the London shop finally got some wind in its sails with a big bet on a new management team.

The first gust came early in the year when TBWA\Worldwide acquired a majority stake in Lucky Generals. The deal formed a TBWA UK Group consisting of Lucky Generals and TBWA\London. Soon after, Lucky Generals’ founders began the search for new leaders for its sister agency.

Lucky Generals co-founder Andy Nairn later compared the search to trying to assemble a band. In July, TBWA\London poached Saatchi & Saatchi creative chief Andy Jex and MullenLowe head of strategy Anna Vogt as chief creative officer and chief strategy officer respectively.

The final piece of the puzzle dropped into place two months later, with the appointment of Sara Tate as chief executive. Tate, a 10-year Mother veteran, had briefly worked at Lucky Generals as a partner leading new business when she went for the TBWA top job.

The trio started on the same day in October and have presented themselves as a united front, intent on revitalising the agency. They have a big job ahead. In 2017, TBWA lost Airbnb and GoDaddy as clients. This year the focus will be on winning new business, on top of flagship brand Lidl, and restoring some of its creative spirit. However, as Tate has said, it will be a marathon not a sprint to get the swagger back in its step.




3 3 4

Agency's year in a tweet

Not as good as 2018 is already shaping up to be.

Score key: 9 Outstanding 8 Excellent 7 Good 6 Satisfactory 5 Adequate 4 Below average 3 Poor 2 A year to forget 1 Survival in question


*indicates where agencies claim the corporate governance constraints of the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation


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