TBWA launches cultural editorial arm Backslash

TBWA Worldwide is introducing an editorial capability called Backslash to help weave cultural and trends insight into the lives of its employees to inform their creative output.

TBWA publishes insight and trends content on Instagram using @tbwabackslash
TBWA publishes insight and trends content on Instagram using @tbwabackslash

Backslash will be powered by 200 "culture spotters" recruited from across the global network.

As part of the new approach, all of TBWA’s employees will receive a daily two-minute video of cultural and trends insight. 

The content will span topics such as the use of virtual reality for medical –rather than entertainment – purposes and the wave of "modern nudism" currently sweeping London, from naked bike rides to restaurants serving only nude diners.

Backslash’s launch comes at a difficult time for advertisers, which are facing the unprecedented challenge created by the social media-driven "backlash culture". TBWA hopes Backslash will provide the speed and agility needed to operate in this new environment.

Richard Stainer, chief executive of TBWA\London, said: "Creating at the speed of culture requires a deep knowledge of culture, and this is what Backslash gives us. It turns TBWA into a global knowledge and creativity network."

TBWA already publishes insight and trends content on Instagram using the account @tbwabackslash. The feed will continue to give non-TBWA employees a glimpse of Backslash content.

Sarah Rabia, planning director at TBWA\Chiat\Day in Los Angeles, will lead Backslash.

A former journalist at The Face and ex-forecaster at The Future Laboratory, Rabia said the initiative has "given us our own creative output beyond what we make for our clients".