The changing agency model - TBWA design AdNews February cover

Pippa Chambers
By Pippa Chambers | 5 February 2019

This first appeared in the AdNews February 2019 magazine. Support AdNews by subscribing here.

The creative contingent of adland is the beating heart of the industry. To fully embrace this, and with a mission to create awesome and inspiring covers, each month AdNews hand–picks an agency to work its magic.

To reflect this issue’s investigative feature of the changing agency model, we called on TBWA to take on the challenge. Editor Pippa Chambers spoke with the agency.

What were your initial thoughts on the brief at hand?
There are many factors that are driving the change to the agency model e.g. data, short termism, clients bringing capabilities in house. We needed to distil the issue to one powerful point of view and one visual image. Also, we are very positive about the future for agencies that put creativity first, so we wanted to portray positivity and confidence not doom and gloom.

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Post first brief chat, what went through your mind and what were the next steps you took as a team?
We felt the pressure to deliver. There were some very good cover concepts for AdNews throughout 2018, so the expectation was high. The AdNews cover is pretty damn high profile amongst our peers and our clients. Next step was to continue to distil the brief and to cut to the heart of the problem and opportunity for agencies as the landscape continue to evolve.

How did you know you’d landed on the best concept?
We really wanted to make sure we created something that provoked and demanded people’s attention. We reviewed a number of interesting ideas but this was the one that turned most heads within the agency - so that was a good sign. It also stood for something that most creatives can stand behind. Something that clearly represents the ruthless, unforgiving fighting spirit embedded into the DNA of ‘human’ creativity. The bullet clearly shows how a good idea can cut through the all the noise and BS in such an intense digital landscape.

See what's inside here: AdNews February Edition: Agency model shakeups, OOH, Cathy O’Connor

Who from the team was largely involved and what were their roles?
Art director Andrew Torrisi and copy writer Scott Waterhouse led the charge creatively. They worked closely with Limehouse Head of 3D Chris Andrews and James Lucas ECD across execution. CCO Andy Di Lallo and CEO Paul Bradbury overlooked the project
with producer Vanessa Hawke.

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What were the biggest hurdles to making this a reality?
The biggest hurdle was deciding how to approach the concept from an executional stand point. Ideally, we would have had someone build our android dummy then engage a photographer to capture the headshot, but there just wasn’t enough time. Rather than killing the idea based on logistics, we approached Limehouse creative's CGI and retouch team and
worked closely with him on building the android from scratch.

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Biggest challenge with the whole process? Did anything keep you up at night?
As AI becomes more and more human, we wanted our android to show a somewhat human-like expression as it took its final breath. The issue with this was that often it felt too human, which could send the wrong message. When the android became too human it became unsettling to look at, but without any human-like emotion it felt lifeless. Finding that sweet spot proved
most challenging.

Best bit about the process?
Giving detailed feedback about how an android’s head should explode after being executed was pretty interesting…and twisted.

Credits:
TBWA
Chief Creative Officer: Andy DiLallo

Chief Executive Officer: Paul Bradbury

Art Director: Andrew Torrisi

Writer: Scott Waterhouse

Head of Production: Lisa Brown

Integrated Producer: Vanessa Hawke

Limehouse

Executive Creative Director: James Lucas

Head of CGI: Chris Andrews

Production Lead: Ashlee Savins

MD/EP: Duncan Harriss

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