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IHAVEANIDEA.ORG > articles >  Agency Profile: TBWA\LATIN AMERICA


Posted on April 10, 2012 and read 6,060 times

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brianna Agency Profile: TBWA\LATIN AMERICABrianna Graves
Operations Manager, Writer

1111 Lincoln Road in Miami is a building comprised of creative companies, including famous architects, casting companies, MTV, Nickelodeon and TBWA\LATIN AMERICA. It’s the place to be. After all, just outside the door is all that the famed Lincoln Road has to offer; shopping, of course, or a drink and dessert at Segafredo, the sweet and powerful punch of a Cuban coffee from David’s, some live music at the Van Dyke Café, dinner at Sushi Samba or just an unlimited live reel of fantastic people-watching. And should the TBWA\LATIN AMERICA team find themselves working on a weekend, an artists and farmers market lines Lincoln Road from one end to the other.

Inside the agency is an intimately sized office of about twenty folks, plus free-to-roam office canine mascots. “Curiosity is key,” “We must do the things we think we cannot do,” “Good enough is not enough” and other TBWA words to live by adorn the walls in both English and Spanish, and according to the team, if you don’t believe in these words, TBWA\LATIN AMERICA is not the place for you. Hailing from all different parts of the world, this is a team that is constantly getting to know the city of Miami, and the Latin American region better. On the road at least twice a month, you know never if you will find a TBWA\LATIN AMERICAN in Puerto Rico, Peru, Colombia or Brazil. Or, back on the home front in Miami. As a “home away from home” for every member of the team, they assume a family-like dynamic in Miami of support and camaraderie.

The office leadership team spent a morning sharing the TBWA\ philosophy, and the goals and accomplishments of the TBWA\LATIN AMERICA office with me. Having spent considerable time in different TBWA offices around the world this year, I was impressed by the consistency with which the TBWA brand is represented and the genuine way its employees worldwide embrace the company.


One thing is for sure: the TBWA Worldwide network produces a powerful brand of Kool-Aid. And every member of the TBWA network that I’ve met in any city around the world has a glassful. But they don’t drink it because they have to. They drink it because they authentically believe in it. They love it. They share it. And it tastes the same no matter what country or city you are in.

TBWA\LATIN AMERICA, located smack dab in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the cultural hot spot of Miami Beach, is no exception.

Why Miami? Well, for a location in North America that is central and accessible to Central and South American countries, you can do no better. Plus, Miami celebrates and embraces Latin American culture more than perhaps any other city in the U.S.

The TBWA\LATIN AMERICA office is unique from most agencies I visit, however, in that it is a regional office. It does not exist simply to grow its own roster of clients, which includes Samsonite and Energizer. The TBWA\LATIN AMERICA office exists to establish the TBWA\ brand and grow the business throughout its 29 offices in 19 countries throughout the region, as well as to service TBWA’s international clients, such as adidas and VISA.

TBWA\ is one of the youngest networks in Latin America. With offices in Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico, Argentina, Honduras, Bolivia and more, there is a wealth of talent and resources to leverage for the benefit of TBWA’s international, regional and local clients.

The TBWA\LATIN AMERICA office is not there to serve as a policing or enforcing team for the offices across Latin America, but rather as a resource to the network. The Miami office has the time and the connections throughout the worldwide network to make things happen quickly, to share best practices and research when requested and to allocate resources. The team never intends to grow to an office of 100 people, but rather to remain a tight-knit crew of 25 people stationed to help the greater regional growth.

The TBWA\LATIN AMERICA office is also insularly multicultural. That is to say that nearly every one of the twenty nationalities represented in this office came to Miami from another worldwide TBWA office. Sitting in a room with a few members of their team, I was surrounded by a French digital strategist who transferred from TBWA\HONG KONG and others from TBWA offices in Colombia, Argentina, Holland and Italy. And the Latin American operation is lead by the Regional President of TBWA\CANADA, Jay Bertram.

As such, this office shares a rich global TBWA history with which they are able to hit the ground running.

There is no need to explain the philosophy of Disruption, because everyone came to Miami with experience uncovering conventions and breaking them. Of defining a vision and creating an idea that disrupts the norm and realizes the brand vision. Everyone at TBWA\LATIN AMERICA knows the disruption story of Absolut or Apple’s “Think Different” campaigns.

And everyone understands the concept of Media Arts and extending beyond expected and traditional media to use innovative means to represent the brand behavior and tell its story.

“Disruption and Media Arts are our tools of change, what helps us drive our client growth. Just think of Nissan, Visa, adidas, and so many others,” said Bertram.

You can pluck someone out of one TBWA office and plug him or her into another TBWA office elsewhere in the world without missing a beat.

But before you can leverage the strengths from each office throughout a region, one must understand what those strengths are. And that is the beauty of the TBWA\LATIN AMERICA office.

“TBWA\LATIN AMERICA talent is not only the people sitting in this office in Miami,” Bertram asserted. “It’s the more than 1000 creative minds working all around our region.”

In tune with all Central and South American offices, the regional office recommends the right talent in the network for any project, whether that is a full office (say, “this would be perfect for the digital team from Argentina”) or the collaboration of select key individuals in a SWAT setting.

TBWA\LATIN AMERICA and its sister offices often conduct SWATs – which can be either a physical in-person gathering or a virtual exercise to bring together key people from different TBWA offices around the world. They use their common philosophy and methodology to solve a client business problem fast. Each SWAT combines a depth of cultural and behavioral experience, providing a solidly reliable and enriched creative and strategic foundation to creatively build upon. Often joined by Lee Clow or Rob Schwartz, the SWATs can last anywhere from a few days to a month. It is both inspirational for the team, and a fantastic way to use network resources to shorten the process from ideation to execution.

The TBWA\LATIN AMERICA office also works to expand and enhance capabilities across the region. Digital as a discipline, for example, is not as strong in Latin America as it is elsewhere in the world. But the TBWA\LATIN AMERICA office recently instigated a “Fast Forward” workshop in Peru, which brought in knowledgeable speakers from across the worldwide TBWA network to help improve digital know-how in their Latin American offices.

To ensure that clients feel a part of the creative process and bought in to ideas and campaigns, TBWA also hosts Disruption Days. In partnership with their clients, TBWA leaders walk through the three-step process of identifying conventions, defining a vision and coming up with an idea to execute upon the vision together. They gather information as a team, discuss it, and ultimately, frame up the creative brief. A Disruption Day could be on a small local scale, or on a global scale with TBWA representation from across the planet present to bring deep perspective to the discussion.

It was hard for the team in Miami to define who does what. While their business cards identify a role rooted in a skill set, the team is much too collaborative to stick to a corner. It is the Latin American way, I was told, to allow everyone a say and in this office, the Latin American way presides. Creative ideas are welcome from anywhere, and the team—from strategy to accounts, digital to traditional, media to creative—seem to work together from inception to execution. Bertram repeats “none of us is as good as all of us,” to the team every day.

The TBWA\LATIN AMERICA team shared the Samsonite “BLite Fresh” campaign with me and it just so happened that I fall right into the target market. Being that I live out of a suitcase, the opportunity to carry the lightest suitcase in the world would undoubtedly change my life. A fact which I became more convinced of as I reviewed their work. Sure, one could tell a target audience that the Samsonite suitcase is the lightest, but one could also tell a target that carrying a suitcase will bring fame and fortune. Given that the latter is simply not true, and the former would be ineffective, TBWA\LATIN AMERICA opted to show rather than tell. This recently launched campaign features a redesigned brand website, an active and informative Facebook presence, and to seed conversation that could be picked up and carried through a social strategy, they created informative viral videos – something new for the region. The video has already reached nearly a quarter of a million views. Learn more here.

The “Go with VISA Debit” Campaign, spearheaded out of Miami and Chile, was the result of a round of SWATs, as the brand wanted a regional debit campaign to increase use of the VISA debit feature. Surprisingly, the number one competitor to VISA debit use is not American Express, Diner’s or any other form of credit; it is cash. People across the world, though especially in Latin America, choose to pay for small every day purchases with cash. They will look for an ATM rather than use their debit card, when the reverse would obviously be easier for the customer and beneficial to the brand. TBWA\LATIN AMERICA and the network tackled the challenge with videos and print, and the result was increased uptake in use of the VISA debit card. Learn more here.

More than Disruption, more than Media Arts, what the TBWA\LATIN AMERICA office shares is a passion for the Latin American way of life; for its people, its language, its food and yes, its ideals. They share a love of diverse experience and immersing oneself in culture.

But their love for TBWA is right up there at the very top.




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