Marie Green
Apr 28, 2011

VIDEO: TBWA's Keith Smith on plans, challenges in Asia

ASIA-PACIFIC - Campaign recently sat down with TBWA president international Keith Smith to discuss the network's plans in the region and key areas of growth.

wide player in 16:9 format. Used on article page for Campaign.

According to Smith, the TBWA network doubled their profit in the region in 2010 and is pursuing a significant hike in growth this year.

"Historically we’ve also been very strong in Korea, we’ve been the largest foreign agency in that market ever since we entered there 12 years ago. This year, Australia has shown phenomenal growth both in the Sydney and the Melbourne offices."

"We’ve always been strong in Southeast Asia, a lot of our global clients have their regional hubs in Singapore which means that we have put a lot of resource into those markets."

Following Ian Thubron’s take over of a consolidated Greater China region, pooling resources under one entity, Smith says it’s a much more integrated operation. “Hong Kong is a very strong digital centre and we’re actually able to have HK expertise actually working in China and gain access to larger creative pools of talent."

Smith says TBWA regard the Asia-Pacific operation as something where they can export talent and creative work to the rest of the world.

He goes on to say one of the network's great strengths is digital entities following significant investment.

“We are now producing digital work, particularly from Australia, for the rest of the world on a lot of our global clients."

TBWA puts digital at the heart of their main agencies, says Smith, as opposed to a “separate adjunct that works in parallel with agencies".

The challenge, he says, is to get people who are pioneers in digital technology and digital applications and bringing them into agencies.

Asked whether TBWA plans to install regional leaders, Smith says they will continue to do what they have been doing which is to grow regional leadership from the region or from within the network.

"Because we’ve had a fair amount of success in the Asia-Pacific region, we have people within the TBWA network putting up their hands and saying, you know I would like to be part of that."

"Our challenge is to make sure that if we do bring people in from outside of the region, they are people who are able to contribute something different and add something to the region rather than simply taking a job that otherwise we would like to promote someone from within the region to do."

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