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Unshackling Creativity: At TBWA 'Disruption' rules; everyday is a 'No Hierarchy' day

25-June-2007
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Unshackling Creativity: At TBWA 'Disruption' rules; everyday is a 'No Hierarchy' day

TBWA India believes in ‘Disruption’. For the agency ‘Disruption’ is not just a mere theory, it’s a way of DNA that seems to be programmed within the agency. In this context, the agency has designed a ‘Disruption Temple’, where a group of about 20-25 people from the agency and the clients’ side come together for a ‘Disruption Day’. This initiative was first introduced by Jean-Marie Dru, CEO, TBWA Worldwide.

The agency also doesn’t believe in any hierarchy, claiming everyday is a ‘No Hierarchy’ day. A ‘Disruption Day’ is called when a creative needs to share an idea for a particular client or brand. The initiative is practiced worldwide. A creative of TBWA has the liberty to work on any brand even if not handled from that particular region.

When a Disruption Day is called, the process is carried forward with sharing knowledge of the market and the environment in the first half of the day. The second half focuses on identifying the existing conventions for the brand and has a disruption created for that category.

Kurien Mathew, Director, TBWA India, said, “The ‘Disruption Day’ initiative has been on since the last 4-5 years. We don’t have a specific day. For instance, while planning for the Nivea campaign, we had called for a ‘Disruption Day’ for the brand.”

“TBWA is a very young agile organisation. It has grown rapidly. We have grown by about 80-85 per cent year-on-year in the last two years, which is quiet remarkable. The theory helps the creative in giving liberty and when you give freedom, they start thinking all kinds of stuff.”

The agency as adopted this process for brands like Nivea, Bajaj Allianz, Pedigree, iPod and the latest Pril campaign, which has bagged some awards.

Speaking on the work done for Pril, Mathew said, “The Pril account is actually handled by the South region, but the latest work was done from North. So, we don’t say that if you are sitting in Delhi, you will only work for Delhi clients. We give complete freedom to work on clients across other regions. And that’s the way we work worldwide as well. It produces results that are better than what you expect.”

Narayan Kumar, ECD, TBWA India, said, “Besides this initiative, we also have forums like the ‘Disruption Awards’ or the monthly awards that felicitate good work of young creatives. And above all, people from any level can enter this practice. It is not limited to just creative directors. Afterall every person in the agency wants the best idea for the brand.”

Sourabh Mishra, who recently joined TBWA India as Chief Strategy Officer, when asked how tough or easy it was to practice ‘Disruption’ for a newcomer, replied, “It depends on how capable and desirous is one of breaking out of the comfort zone of conventions. TBWA looks for people who are willing to go through the rigour of understanding conventions in the context of the brand and the category. And then have the desire and the ability to come up with the rule-changing ‘disruptive ideas’ to help a brand realise its vision. These are the kind of people who make the practice of ‘Disruption’ successful.”

Speaking on the concept of Disruption Temple, Mathew said, “Worldwide everyone practices Disruption Days with rooms designed for the day. So when Jean-Marie Dru had been here, we thought to do something different here in India with the touch of Indian culture. Thus, the concept of a temple emerged. As we respect the philosophy of Disruption, we named it ‘Disruption Temple’. At the moment the temple has just been designed only in Mumbai.”

For all the three officials, ‘Disruption’ is not just a theory. Mishra said, “TBWA = Disruption. This means ‘Disruption’ permeates everything that we do and the way we do it. It is the way we are at TBWA India, the way our DNA seems to have been programmed. To quote Jean-Marie Dru, ‘Disruption is at once a method, a way of thinking, and a state of mind’.”

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