Before COVID took its toll, TBWA/Chiat/Day’s New York office and Mtn Dew captivated Super Bowl audiences when they revisited Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining,” with Bryan Cranston taking on the Jack Nicholson role and reenacting the film’s famous “Here’s Johnny” scene with Dew in tow. The ad marked the beginning of the soda brand’s increasingly surprising “As Good As the Original, Maybe Even Better” platform that has since gone on to revisit “Gremlins” and Bob Ross’ “The Joy of Painting.”
Even after the world went on lockdown, the breakout ideas continued to flow. Out of TBWA/Media Arts Lab, the Apple escapades were as inventive as ever. Damien Chazelle (“La La Land”) delivered a blockbuster, genre-spanning film shot vertically on the iPhone; director Kim Gehrig captured a young woman’s poetic dance across worlds with AirPods Pro and Calmatic turned Tierra Whack’s frown upside down in a fantastical film for Homepod Mini.
For Nissan, the agency’s New York office created the “Refuse to Compromise” platform starring Brie Larson, which included a bold anthem spot and a fresh take on the typically boring year-end sales event ads that saw the actress in blockbuster, action-packed scenarios. New York also continued its ongoing “Unfinished Stories” campaign for Travelers Insurance, “completing” the tale of Navajo boy Zaadii Tso in the form of a superhero comic book, “The Legend of Z-Hawk.”
According to the agency, revenue grew double digits across its top 10 U.S. client relationships, with eight of those growing or remaining stable in 2020. Along with its Mtn Dew work, TBWA went on to take on new PepsiCo brands, adding Lay’s, Rise (which recently debuted its first ad with LeBron James) and Bubly. Other wins spanned pharma, with Moderna and Abbott Labs; tech with Facebook’s Oculus and Portal, TikTok for Business and AT&T TV; as well as Behr Paint and Adidas content.
As the industry dealt with the racial reckoning following the death of George Floyd, TBWA’s offices have doubled down on their diversity efforts. The New York outpost, for example, made DEI a “roster client,” giving it job codes, budget and dedicated time during working hours, driven by a 100-person volunteer team.