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TBWA Worldwide is an international advertising agency whose headquarters are in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, United States. The Agency is a unit of Omnicom Group, the world's largest advertising agency holding company. It was founded in 1970 in Paris, France, by William G. Tragos (American, Management), Claude Bonnange (French, Marketing), Uli Wiesendanger (Swiss, Creation), and Paolo Ajroldi (Italian, Client Services). The first letter of each founder's name provided the initials for the new organization. They were purchased by the Omnicom Group in 1993.
During the 1990s Omnicom merged TBWA with other top creative agencies including Chiat/Day and Hunt Lascaris, building a network of creative agencies around the world. Over time it set up agencies in more and more markets, both through affiliations, joint ventures and wholly owned companies. It started to attract global clients who helped develop and strengthen its network.
In the United States, TBWA operates through TBWA\Chiat\Day, with offices in Los Angeles, New York and Nashville. In other parts of the world the company also operates under a mixed brand name such as TBWA Hunt Lascaris, a highly awarded agency based in South Africa, TBWA\CONCEPT UNIT, West Africa's most awarded creative agency, and TBWA\RAAD an emerging operation that spans the Middle East and North Africa.
Within the Omnicom Group of Companies TBWA is generally partnered with OMD and PHD for Media solutions, TEQUILA for below the line marketing communications, Ketchum and Gavin Anderson for Public Relations and Investor Relations, and Agency.com for interactive. That said, in specific markets it partners or works with other Diversified Advertising Services (DAS) agencies within Omnicom's portfolio.
In the mid-1990s TBWA began expanding globally spreading rapidly. It began acquiring global accounts such as Master Foods that helped strengthen the breadth and depth of its offering, so much so that in 2004 it was named by Advertising Age as Global Agency Network of the Year. In 2010, it was named by Advertising Agency as Global Agency Network of the Decade.
Disruption and Media Arts
TBWA has a philosophy called the disruption and Media Arts created by Jean Marie Dru when he was in BDDP (French advertising agency now called BDDP&Fils) the May 1st of 1992. The Disruption is explain in different books created by Jean Marie Dru, such as Disruption", "How Disruption brought order and Beyond Disruption: changing the rules in the marketplace
Absolut Vodka controversy
In April 2008 Teran/TBWA of Mexico released a controversial advertisement for Absolut Vodka depicting a tongue-in-cheek fictional "perfect world" dubbed "absolut world" depicting the larger Mexico as it existed before the 19th century Mexican-American War which includes areas now part of the United States (including California and Texas). Some time after the billboard was taken down in Mexico City, a photo of it surfaced on a right-wing blog in the US, sparking a short uproar among elements of the media.
Pincha la Rueda de Hamilton
Pincha la Rueda de Hamilton (Burst Hamilton's tires), a Spanish website run by TBWA, was set up in October 2008. It hosted a game where users could leave objects on a race track to stop the then Formula One leader, Lewis Hamilton, from winning the last grand prix of the year in Brazil. It became controversial when users began to leave racist comments (such as "half-breed") aimed at the mixed-race Hamilton and was shut down in November. The FIA, the sport's governing body, and Hamilton's team, McLaren, condemned the comments as "abusive and hateful".
Taco Bell Chihuahua
In 1997 TBWA developed the Chihuahua campaign for Taco Bell. Two Michigan men, represented by Warner Norcross & Judd LLP, who had earlier pitched the concept to Taco Bell sued and in 2003 a jury awarded them $US30 million in damages and a judge tacked on $US12 million in interest. Taco Bell in turn sued TBWA saying it should have been aware of the conflicts. In 2009 a three-judge federal appeals panel ruled against Taco Bell.
In December 2009, TBWA developed the campaign for Häagen-Dazs Ice Cream in India. Several banners were put up that said "Exclusive Preview for International Travelers - Access restricted only to holders of international passports". Instead of portraying exclusivity, this was perceived negatively due to India's long history of colonialism where access to certain areas was restricted to the white colonizers from Britain. Häagen-Dazs cut ties with TBWA after the negative publicity generated due to that incident.
Agencies and multihub creative networks
- \BRIGHT RED
- FAME (retail brand agency)
- La Clínica TBWA
- TBWA\Digital Arts Network (Digital offer)
- TBWA\Hakuhodo (Japan, with the Hakuhodo Group)
- TBWA\PALING WALTERS
- TBWA\Santiago Mangada Puno (aka TBWA\SMP) (Philippines)
- TBWA\Social Media ARTs (Social Media offer)
- THABASCO (TBWA\Groningen)
- The Designory
- The Integer Group
- "Contact Us." TBWA Worldwide. Retrieved on July 8, 2010. "488 Madison Avenue, New York, New York 10022 United States"
- TBWA history - Funding Universe
- AdWeek - March 29, 1993
- "Disruption". TBWA. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
- Dru, Jean-Marie (2002). Beyond Disruption: changing the rules in the marketplace. Wiley. p. 304.
- Kevin Dowling. Website at the centre of racist attacks on Lewis Hamilton is owned by the world's biggest advertising agency. Telegraph. November 01, 2008.
- Taco Bell Loses Chihuahua Case--Again Amlaw Daily - January 26, 2009
- Hindustan Times
- Economic Times
- Philippine Daily Inquirer
- TBWA\SMP website