Between the Lines: Retain TBWA's creative flair

Matt Shepherd-Smith, the newly promoted chief executive of TBWA\London, has laid out his agenda for the agency's future and centred it on improving client services (page 3).

A less linear structure that will bring planning and creative together makes sense, as does the plan to encourage clients to sign up to Connections and Stream, the agency's communications planning and content divisions.

And there's a lot of logic in refocusing on clients' needs; after all, TBWA has lost a few of them over the past 12 months. However, it is a massive departure for an agency that has traded on its creative brilliance for many years.

No doubt Shepherd-Smith will argue that TBWA intends to keep creative standards high, but there are few agencies in the business that can juggle market-leading creative work and highly cosseted clients.

He must ensure the new client focus does not come at the cost of the agency's creative capability. Otherwise, he risks damaging TBWA's greatest asset.