For TBWA\WorldHealth, 2022 was a year of change. Head count fell by 51, to 387 full-timers at the end of the year, and revenue declined in tandem. MM+M estimates that the agency generated $87.5 million during 2022, down 5% from an estimated $92.5 million in 2021.

The agency’s restructuring came in the form of a new bespoke team model —  which, in turn, removed layers of hierarchy. According to CEO Robin Shapiro, surrounded every client with “the makers, the creators and the doers” on TBWA\WorldHealth’s staff.

Shapiro characterizes the “squad model” as a major component of the company’s modernization effort.

“It’s in response to the need to be business partners and to be highly accountable for the overall success of the business and provide what our clients want, which is to move more quickly and to work hand-in-hand with the agency team every day,” she explains. “It’s a restructuring of how we show up for our clients, which is at the table with them, working on and leading the business.” 

TBWA\WorldHealth picked up five assignments during 2022, including work on Moderna’s pan-respiratory vaccines portfolio and Janssen’s plaque psoriasis/psoriatic arthritis drug Tremfya, both alongside its Omnicom sibling agencies. That spirit of collaboration is what Shapiro finds most satisfying about TBWA\WorldHealth’s work with GSK on linerixibat, a treatment for cholestatic pruritus.

“It hits the sweet spot for us in terms of a lot of things that we love,” she says. “First off, it’s not just about us. As an agency, we’re partnering with different agencies more and more often. [Omnicom Health Group CEO] Matt McNally describes us as ‘the most networked network.’”

Despite the overall drop in head count, TBWA\WorldHealth had little trouble bringing in agency-world A-listers during 2022. Shapiro is particularly enthusiastic about the addition of executive director of strategy Sonoko Jacobson, who arrived from BGB Group.

“She is modernizing everything, from our creative brief process all the way through to how we assess the effectiveness of our work,” she notes. 

Chris Rudnick added content creation and delivery to his executive creative director responsibilities and has been charged with leading the agency’s push toward producing more modular content. He’ll be assisted in that effort by SVP, director of integrated delivery Ji Myung Nana Sheppard, who joined from Accenture in February.

“She’ll help transition us from being a big-idea firm to a firm that is all about developing platforms and content that becomes modular, and which is measured in ways that clearly tie results back to the ideas that we come up with,” Shapiro explains.

Beyond the new squad structure and the emphasis on inter-network collaboration, Shapiro believes that TBWA\
WorldHealth’s future growth will also be bolstered by its big-tent approach to data and analytics.

“Our clients used to say to us, ‘No, we’ve got lots of data. We’re good. We have everything we need,’” she recalls. “Now they ask, ‘What can you bring us? How can you help us understand more? How can you help us get closer to our customers?’ It’s a whole new day.”

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Our marketing role model…

When former New Zealand Prime Minster Jacinda Ahern was elected in 2017, she became the world’s youngest female head of state — and, soon, the second woman to give birth while heading up a government. Under Ahern’s leadership, New Zealand was one of the few Western countries that successfully contained COVID-19. After the horrific Christchurch mosque shootings, she passed laws that banned almost all semiautomatic weapons and assault rifles. And today she teaches public policy and leadership to the next generation of changemakers at Harvard Kennedy School. Not bad for six years. — Jonathan Isaacs, global chief creative officer

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