|Privately held company|
|Industry||Advertising, Marketing, Digital Media, Social Media, Branding, Media Buying, Public Relations|
|Founded||Knoxville, Tennessee (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 full service advertising agency headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, noted for its national and regional advertising campaigns in the United States. With annual billings of $100 million, Tombras is one of the top 35 largest independent national advertising agencies with offices in Washington, D.C.; Louisville, Kentucky; Nashville; and Charleston, South Carolina. Tombras offers advertising, creative development, web design and in-house programming, branding, media buying, public relations, social media, content development, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), integrated marketing communications, analytics and marketing research services. Tombras is a member of the American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA).
- 1 History
- 2 Notable Campaigns
- 3 Media Planning and Buying
- 4 Recognition
- 5 References
- 6 External links
The Tombras Group was founded by Charles Tombras Sr. in 1946. Charles Tombras Jr. joined the firm in 1966 when he returned from a tour of duty in Vietnam. When the senior Tombras retired in 1982, Charles Jr. took over as president. Since taking the helm in 1982, The Tombras Group has grown from 25 to over 125 employees and added offices in four states plus Washington, D.C..
The April 11, 2014 issue of Adweek Magazine named The Tombras Group TV commercial the number one TV spot in the world for the April 4th - 11th time period. 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. Tombras created the website Distraction.gov  to promote public awareness and provide information. It also spurred further publicity by developing partnerships with ESPN, Regal Cinemas and Disney/Pixar. A Tombras video featuring Rhett & Link, "I'm a Textpert," made fun of people who think that texting and driving is a talent. The video achieved over 3.6 million views as of July 1, 2014.
McDonald's Social Media
The Tombras Group manages Twitter accounts for McDonald's in southeastern markets. Of these, the McDonald's in East Tennessee has the 3rd largest following of any McDonald's market in the United States.
ESPN Events tapped Tombras to build several websites to help sell tickets for Football Bowl Games and Basketball Tournaments they sponsor. This project included creating and updating landing pages for 9 basketball tournaments and 11 bowl games.
Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over
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 new tagline, "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over," and a national advertising campaign that included digital and traditional media, website, content development and social media strategy.
Life Is Orange and White
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.
Farm Bureau Insurance
Farm Bureau Insurance Tennessee hired The Tombras Group to increase sales of Auto, Home and Life insurance. The Tombras Group conducted research which revealed that many consumers thought they had to work in the farming industry in order to be eligible to purchase Farm Bureau Insurance products. To educate consumers, Tombras developed a TV and digital campaign based around a wise, friendly farmer named Charlie who gives sage advice, the best of which is that "you don't have to be a farmer to save money with Farm Bureau Insurance."
The Peaceful Side of the Smokies E-marketing
Townsend, Tennessee is a gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the nation's most-visited national park. Tombras branded Townsend as the “Peaceful Side of the Smokies” and developed national award winning websites and digital marketing platforms.
Media Planning and Buying
- In March 2014, Communication Arts featured a Tombras campaign for the Highland Games, a traditional Scottish festival that takes place annually in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The posters feature authentic Scottish silhouettes set against beautiful Smoky Mountain scenery.
- Tombras TV spots have 3 times been named by Advertising Age Magazine as one of the ten best-liked and most recalled spots in America.
- In 2014, The Tombras group won more ADDY awards than any other agency in the Southeast, winning "Best of Show", five "Best of Category" awards, 81 Gold and 76 Silver ADDYs at two American Advertising Federation (AAF) events held in Knoxville and Northeast Tennessee. This represents the most wins by any agency in Tennessee during the 49-year history of the event.
- 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, Farm Bureau Insurance of Tennessee, and the Smoky Mountain Convention & Visitors Bureau, as well as multiple awards for web design, mobile design and email blasts.
- 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.
- In October 2011, the EnergyRight®Solutions  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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 http://www.smokymountainfestivals.org produced for the Smoky Mountain Convention & Visitors Bureau. In addition, Tombras won a Silver ADDY for its own website, http://www.tombras.com.
- 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.
- 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.
- American Association of Advertising Agencies
- Carly Harrington, "Ad Man Charlie Tombras Meets the Challenge," Knoxville News Sentinel, 24 June 2012. Retrieved: 24 June 2012.
- American Advertising Federation-Knoxville
- Fierce Energy
- Knoxville News Sentinel