Pulling off stellar creative around the globe is a big ask of any agency, in part because of the massive level of talent required—but also because there’s no single formula that can be copied and pasted across multiple regions with equal success.
That’s part of what got the attention of Adweek’s selection committee in the process of determining 2018’s Global Agency of the Year. Our editors and writers were struck by the diversity and range of work from TBWA\Worldwide, which also showed a consistent level of quality and innovation across its many offices. In recognition of this work—along with TBWA’s behind-the-scenes work strengthening its leadership across major markets and its ongoing evolution to meet clients’ changing needs—Adweek named TBWA as this year’s global agency honoree.
Even if you’re an advertising addict, chances are you’ve missed some of the international creativity that TBWA’s offices have had on display this year. So here’s a look back at some of the campaigns that showed the local resonance, cultural impact and innovative thinking that earned TBWA top global honors for 2018:
Amazon | Alexa Loses Her Voice
Office: Lucky Generals (U.K.)
With perfect comedic timing and a wonderfully surprising roster of celebrity cameos, this 90-second Super Bowl spot helped bring some humanity, warmth and quirkiness to a brand that typically has a drier, more transactional relationship with its fans. Developed by Lucky Generals, a London agency startup acquired by TBWA in early 2017, the spot crammed a lot of product integration into a simple storyline without making it feel cluttered and salesy.
The results were substantial: According to an analysis by social analytics firm Crimson Hexagon, “Alexa Loses Her Voice” was the most-discussed ad of the Super Bowl (more than doubling online discussions of Tide’s ad blitz) and No. 2 for all of 2018—surpassed only by Nike’s polarizing Colin Kaepernick ads.
Helsingin Sanomat | Land of Free Press
Office: TBWA\Helsinki (Finland)
When Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin met for a summit in Helsinki, Finland, this July, local newspaper Helsingin Sanomat was ready and waiting. The media outlet worked with TBWA\Helsinki and outdoor ad networks Clear Channel and JCDecaux to create a series of ads that would be visible all long the world leaders’ routes from the airport. “Mr. President, welcome to the land of free press,” noted one digital display, while others featured headlines—in English and Russian—about how Trump and Putin have butted heads with or tried to stymie independent news outlets. “The media shouldn’t be the lap dog of any president or regime,” Kaius Niemi, editor in chief of the newspaper, said at the time of the campaign.
Joburg Ballet | Breaking Ballet
Office: TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris (South Africa)
Think of all the words you’d use to describe ballet, and “relevant” likely isn’t one of them. South Africa’s Joburg Ballet set about trying to fix that gap in cultural connection by creating Breaking Ballet, a series of short dance videos that tackled the trending topics of the moment, from #MeToo and the March for Our Lives movement to Black Panther and Game of Thrones. The videos, created with TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris, clock in around 2 minutes or less—which turns out to be plenty time to highlight how much ballet still has to say.
Apple | Welcome Home
Agency: TBWA\Media Arts Lab
What’s left to be said about this short film, music video, performance art piece and product demonstration all wrapped in one? Directed by Spike Jonze and starring rising superstar FKA twigs (whose wide-ranging skills and fashion-forward outfits inspired the character “Kamilah” on NBC’s The Good Place), the ad for Apple’s HomePod brought a new level of creative ambition to Apple’s recent marketing, especially thanks to its heavy reliance on practical effects rather than digital trickery.
Hostelworld | Even Divas Are Believers
Office: Lucky Generals (U.K.)