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Agency Profile: TBWA New York

Posted on March 30, 2006 and read 3,346 times

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ignaciocreditpic 150x150 Agency Profile: TBWA New YorkIgnacio Oreamuno

I could bet money that Lee Clow has on payroll a color therapist who makes it his job to make sure the walls at TBWA are painted with the brightest most vibrant colors available in the planet. Perhaps he’s got a theory that vibrant walls inspire good creative. And then again, perhaps he’s just mad. Nonetheless, when you walk in TBWA NY you enter a very vibrant place.

All TBWA offices are very different and adapt to their environment. In L.A., for example, people are allowed to bring in their dogs. The San Francisco, office on the other hand, is small and more of a boutique agency that the monster L.A. office. On first impression, New York seems like the place where creatives that want to experience the big apple are drawn to.

Commaderie is pretty high within the creatives and morale is kept up by highly developed sociological methods of human interaction. I’m of course, referring to beer. Every 2nd Thursday the second floor cafeteria is turned into a party lounge complete with DJ, booze, pool tournaments and prizes. Everyone blows off steam and has some fun.

As you might have guessed, getting a job at TBWA New York is not for the faint of heart. All creatives admitted that it was shocking to them how incredibly talented their peers were. Making it from the bottom of the bottom might take up to a year of unpaid dues, with the exception of cabs and dinners. What awaits you at the end of is the “dream” junior job at one of the world’s top agencies, with a business card that says “Madison Avenue” and with creative briefs that will include clients like Absolut, Bayer, Nivea, Skittles, Starbust, and Sprint. Guiding your career will be none other than “Not going anywhere for a while?” Gerry Graf. I’ve met Gerry once briefly, while we were drinking mojitos with Mark Fenske and Lee Clow at the Clios. Mark seemed like a very very fun guy. Without knowing him well I can risk saying that he looks like a guy that’s very passionate about his job. He was obviously placed there for a reason.

As a creative, you won’t be assigned any specific account and chances are that you’ll get your hands dirty working on almost everything. When pitch-time comes around TBWA will stretch its global agency arms and cooperate across regions, with stars like Lee Clow and Chuck McBride appearing to help you win the pitch.

TBWA NY must be like being the ‘not as pretty sister’ when compared to TBWA L.A.. You can’t blame them, TBWA L.A. is where it’s all at, but it’s clear that they have put more and more coals in the fire of TBWA NY to stop turnarounds, get more press, and create a more solid creative product. It seems to be working, since according to Jean-Marie Drue, they doubled their revenues in 2005.

If you are a creative looking to work at TBWA NY my gut tells me that you can’t separate the place from the agency. Part of your salary will be being able to work in the big city, in the big agency, in the big advenue. Everyone I met was amazing and very friendly. TBWA NY is undergoing a creative transformation that of which we’ll see the results in the next years to come.

As I left I was given two big massive books, Disruption Stories and another one on Absolut. I had to walk 20 blocks before I found a cab and my fingers hurt from carrying the TBWA bibles. The point was made very clear that the agency has an incredible history, past and present that you simply can’t ignore.




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