GLOBAL BRIEF: Clow’s elevation reflects TBWA’s global mission - The agency’s creative guru has been made worldwide figurehead

Lee Clow, the creative figurehead of TBWA Worldwide, is one of advertising’s living legends. He’s the assured hand behind some of the most memorable commercials ever made, including Apple’s ’1984’ spot, which launched the Macintosh computer.

Lee Clow, the creative figurehead of TBWA Worldwide, is one of

advertising’s living legends. He’s the assured hand behind some of the

most memorable commercials ever made, including Apple’s ’1984’ spot,

which launched the Macintosh computer.



By awarding him the title of chairman and chief creative officer of TBWA

Worldwide, John Wren, the president and chief executive of the Omnicom

group, is exalting Clow beyond his already mythic status.



Neither of the other two Omnicom networks, BBDO and DDB, has such a

figurehead.



But TBWA is the one which needs to establish a coherent identity as it

attempts to pull together a still disparate series of acquisitions

around the world.



Wren has decided that the way forward for TBWA is to promote a

consistent creative vision. He says: ’Creativity can’t be added to a

network, it has to be in the DNA. We are affirming TBWA’s commitment to

creativity and recognising that creativity is at the centre of

successful business practices.’



A TBWA insider describes Clow’s new position as a ’ceremonial role’,

adding: ’Clow symbolises and clarifies the network. TBWA is underscoring

the fact that the core value of the network is creativity.’



Last year at the Cannes advertising festival, TBWA won more lions than

any of its competitors, and Omnicom is keen to harness that triumph and

lodge it into the industry’s perception of TBWA.



The new chairman still basks in the glory of ’1984’, and is also

well-known for his work on Nissan’s ’enjoy the ride’ and Apple’s ’think

different’ campaign. He has won more than his fair share of gold lions

at Cannes and is a member of the OneClub Hall of Fame.



Now that TBWA Chiat/Day has been integrated into the TBWA fold, Clow is

ready to take on a broader mantle - he is already credited with

recruiting David Page from Ogilvy & Mather as the new creative director

of TBWA’s New York office.



Clow will work closely with Michael Greenlees, the president and chief

executive of TBWA Worldwide, and try to build TBWA into a powerful

brand. Both men will report directly to Wren. By all accounts, the first

meeting of the new worldwide board last week was handled smoothly by a

compelling Clow-Greenlees double act.



Now that TBWA’s creative credentials have been established, what will

Omnicom do with them? Wren is keeping a close eye on the development of

TBWA. He sees the network as having a particularly strong integrated

offering: ’It has a depth of services beyond advertising and the

generation of the idea in a media-neutral sense is an empowering

factor.’



TBWA’s most imminent challenge is to draw in more multinational

clients.



Wren admits: ’There is an opportunity to increase the roster of

network-serviced clients. Because of the way TBWA came together, it has

strong local companies, but doesn’t have a lot of network business.’



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