School Reports 2011: TBWA\London

Few people argued when TBWA\London was given a score of "2" in last year's School Report. Even the agency itself struggled to award itself much higher. It was clear that huge changes were needed - and fast.

Recent TBWA\London work: John Smith's
Recent TBWA\London work: John Smith's

Score: 5

Agency fact file: TBWA\London
Type of agency Creative
Company ownership Omnicom
Key personnel Robert Harwood-Matthews UK group president
  Andre Laurentino executive creative director
  Andy De Groose managing director
  Zaid Al-Zaidy chief strategy officer
The Nielsen Company billings 2010 £142m
The Nielsen Company billings 2009 £118m
Declared income n/s
Total accounts at year end 26
Accounts won 5 (biggest: Energizer)
Accounts lost 2 (biggest: Beiersdorf)
Number of staff 206 (+ 40%)

Credit must, therefore, go to Robert Harwood-Matthews, the newish TBWA\UK Group president, for getting on with the task at hand. He brought in a new managing director in Isobar's Andy De Groose, and appointed Saint@RKCR's managing partner, Zaid Al-Zaidy, as its chief strategy officer.

But just when a solidified management line-up seemed to be in place, the executive creative director Mark Hunter left to join Deutsch in Los Angeles.

He has been replaced with an intriguing hire - DM9DDB's Andre Laurentino, a Brazilian ready to take his first crack at the UK ad industry. But the agency must hope that is the last management upheaval for quite some time to come.

A less-than-thrilling new-business performance did little to inject any real confidence last year - although the Carbon Trust win followed a highly competitive pitch process, and Energizer and Twix are global wins that could provide platforms for some good work.

The work, in fact, is surprisingly good for an agency that experienced such turmoil. Particularly in the social media space, TBWA\London has come a long way, with an impressive Adidas campaign bringing Lionel Messi to Hackney Marshes. 2010 also saw Peter Kay make a successful return to John Smith's advertising.

TBWA\London is by no means in the mess that it was at the end of 2009 and has added business and people from Tequila (the remainder was folded into Being). But the agency will have to prove itself in 2011 if it is to truly make strides and regain its confidence of old.

Score last year: 2

How TBWA\London rates itself: 7.5

"2010 was a good year for TBWA\: building strong foundations for the future, while producing work that is both creative and effective. The arrival of Zaid Al-Zaidy and Andy De Groose ensure entrepreneurialism and digital innovation are in the driving seat.The John Smith's, Nissan, Skittles, Eblex and Adidas work collectively expresses our agency vision: creatively engaging; real-time communications; harnessing the power of communities; using relevant and varied channels to reach audiences."

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