Tombras Group

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The Tombras Group
Type Privately held company
Industry Advertising, Marketing, Digital Media, Social Media, Branding, Media Buying, Public Relations
Founded Knoxville, Tennessee (1946 (1946))
Headquarters Knoxville, Tennessee, United States
Number of locations Knoxville, Nashville, and Johnson City, Tennessee; Washington, D.C.; Charleston, South Carolina; Louisville, Kentucky

The Tombras Group, founded in 1946, is a privately held advertising agency headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, noted for its national and regional advertising campaigns in the United States. With annual billings of $80 million, Tombras is one of the nation's largest independent digital-centric advertising agencies. It is the oldest advertising agency in Tennessee, the largest in Knoxville, and has branch offices in Nashville and Johnson City, Tennessee; Washington, D.C.; Charleston, South Carolina; and Louisville, Kentucky. As a full-service marketing firm, Tombras offers advertising, marketing, web design, corporate branding, public relations, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), integrated marketing communications, and marketing research services. Tombras is a member of the American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA).[1]


The Tombras Group was founded by Charles Tombras Sr. In 1966, Charles Tombras Jr. returned from a tour of duty in Vietnam and joined the agency as an account executive. When the senior Tombras retired in 1982, Charles Jr. took over as president. Today the company has branches in Nashville (Dennison Tombras), Johnson City, Tennessee, Washington, D.C., Charleston, South Carolina and Louisville, Kentucky. In addition, Tombras is a part-owner of Worldwide Partners, a global network of independent advertising agencies.[2] [3]

Notable Campaigns[edit]

Distracted Driving[edit]

Tombras was asked to develop a campaign on the dangers of distracted driving for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Distractions related to traffic accidents include texting, using a cell phone, grooming, reading, etc. NHTSA reports that 3,092 fatalities were related to distracted driving in 2010. [4] Tombras created the website [11] to promote public awareness and provide information. It also spurred further publicity by developing partnerships with ESPN, Regal Cinemas and Disney/Pixar.

Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over[edit]

Part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's core mission is to reduce alcohol-related fatalities on U.S. highways, which total nearly 11,000 each year. The Tombras Group was asked by NHTSA to create a nationwide multimedia campaign promoting awareness of stepped-up enforcement efforts related to impaired driving. Tombras created the "Invisible Cops" campaign that included a new tagline and website, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. [5]

Life Is Orange and White[edit]

Athletics are an important part of student life at the University of Tennessee, headquartered in Knoxville. Tombras developed an advertising campaign for the UT Athletics Department entitled Life Is Orange and White. The campaign provides a recognizable image and unifying theme for marketing efforts that were previously splintered among UT's 20 sports.

Charlie the Farmer[edit]

Farm Bureau Insurance Tennessee hired The Tombras Group to increase awareness among consumers that they don’t have to be in the farming industry to obtain Farm Bureau insurance.

The Peaceful Side of the Smokies E-marketing[edit]

Townsend, Tennessee is a gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the nation's most-visited national park.[6] Tombras helped Townsend develop a campaign that emphasized its unhurried pace as the “Peaceful Side of the Smokies.”

Media Planning and Buying[edit]

Tombras does media planning and buying in all media, both online and traditional. It places advertising for its clients locally, nationally, and internationally.


  • At the 2012 Southeast District ADDY award presentations, Tombras won 19 awards, more than any other agency in the Southeast. The agency received Gold awards for campaigns for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Tennessee Farm Bureau, and the Smoky Mountain Convention & Visitors Bureau, as well as multiple awards for web design, mobile design and email blasts. [7]
  • At the 2012 Knoxville AAF ADDY award presentations, Tombras won Best of Show Overall and Best of Show Interactive and Print for work for the Smoky Mountain Convention & Visitors Bureau. The agency received a total of 52 Gold awards, 93 Silver, and 53 Bronze. [8]
  • In October 2011, the EnergyRight®Solutions [9] website that Tombras designed for the Tennessee Valley Authority was named among the best utility websites by Fierce Energy, a global company that tracks advancements in the energy industry. [10]
  • In 2011 The Tombras Group was awarded a national Silver ADDY award for cinematography for its BAM! campaign for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.[11]
  • At the 2011 Southeast District ADDY awards, Tombras Won two gold ADDYs, one for its BAM! campaign for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the other for an interactive energy information kiosk for TVA. It also won five silver ADDYs.[12]
  • At the Knoxville AAF 2011 ADDY awards, Tombras won Best of Show Overall, Best of Show Interactive, and Best of Show TV awards as well as the Judges Choice award for a University of Tennessee Athletics Department campaign. In addition, Tombras won 31 Gold and 88 Silver awards. [13]
  • At the 24th Midsouth Emmy Awards in 2010, Tombras won a best PSA spot award for its Nailed safe driving campaign for the Tennessee Governor's Highway Safety Office.
  • At the 2009 National ADDY Awards, Tombras won a Gold ADDY for The Festivals website produced for the Smoky Mountain Convention & Visitors Bureau.[14] In addition, Tombras won a Silver ADDY for its own website,[15]
  • In 2009 Tombras won Best of Show and Best of Print at the Knoxville ADDY Awards for its Low Impact Vacation campaign for the Smoky Mountain Convention & Visitors Bureau. The agency also received two Gold ADDY Awards and seven Silver ADDY Awards at the AAF District 7 ADDY Awards.[16]
  • The Robert McCabe Silver Award for excellence and creativity in advertising was won by Charles Tombras Sr. in 1985 and Charles Tombras Jr. in 1998.[17]


External links[edit]