25 October 2021


We, TBWA\HAKUHODO, call ourselves a “Disruption®︎ Company”.
What comes to your mind when you think of “disruption”? If you look up the word in the dictionary, you will find that it is described as disturbance, interruption, or discontinuation. Disruption comes from the Latin words “dis-” (apart) to and “rumpere” (to break), and it intrinsically gives the image of breaking or destroying. So when you hear “Disruption®︎ Company” without any context, you may be wondering “so what does this company destroy?”

Disruption®︎ is our software


But for TBWA, Disruption®︎ is a concept that has been the DNA of our global collective, a way of thinking, a philosophy, and a core method of work used every day since it was initiated in 1992 by Jean-Marie Dru, the current President of TBWA\Worldwide. We think of Disruption as the creation of ideas that break the conventions and customs of the world – as we believe that you can’t create new things just by continuing ‘normal’ things.

The idea of “disrupting the norms” may be easily understood if we think of the global pandemic that struck the world for the past two years. COVID-19 brought drastic changes in all aspects of our lives – how we work, gather, and connect with others, and our mobility as well. All the common senses were overturned. While it is said that it is impossible to completely return to the way of life before the pandemic, the idea of Disruption®︎ that TBWA has developed over the past 30 years may provide a clue to finding the “new normal” for our life and business.

Three steps of Disruption®︎


Disruption is comprised of three major steps.
First, Convention – things that are taken for granted, or the existing ways of doing things. Conventions are like walls that stop new ideas. Then we have Vision, the goal that we want to achieve by destroying these conventions. If we say convention as the status quo, and the vision as the ideal future, then the idea to change the world from the status quo to the future is called “Disruption”.

”Disruption” often gives an impression of merely “interesting or radical ideas.” However Disruption®︎ in the context of TBWA is not just a new interesting idea, but a path from the convention to the vision that we want to achieve, so we call these three steps the “Disruption Path”.

Disruption in Action ーWe are Viruses Project

The “We are Viruses” project that was launched in 2020 winter can help you better understand how the Disruption method is actually used in TBWA\HAKUHODO.


Last year, there was concern about a “twin-demic” where two infectious diseases spread at the same time – COVID-19 and influenza, making it especially important to take correct and thorough infection prevention measures regardless of children or adults.

However, for many parents, the fact that their children don’t understand why they need to wash their hands, or don’t like hand-washing, and don’t wash their hands in a proper way was a major issue (convention). So we asked ourselves, “How can we help children understand the importance of handwashing and enjoy proper hand-washing?” (Vision) Then the team came up with an idea – to make hand-washing into a fun game! (disruption).


As part of the project, the team developed six virus characters and developed Pocket Soap that is in the shape of virus characters and disappears in 30 seconds. This disruptive project is still ongoing, aiming to realize the vision of turning boring hand-washing into a game fighting with enemies (viruses) so that children can take preventive measures against infection.

Everyday Disruption

“To break down conventional thinking and find a new vision” is a way of thinking that is not limited to creativity, but can be applied to all areas of business and our daily lives as well. If you find a thing or an issue that you feel a little uncomfortable about, ask yourself, “Why does it have to be this way?” The first step to Disruption is to start questioning. Imagine what you want to achieve, what new growth you want to see, and try to come up with ideas to reach your goal. This is the beginning of the disruption that will help you change the world and create a new normal.

In STORIES we will continue to share stories on our Disruptions that change the world! Please stay tuned.

Communication team (koho@tbwahakuhodo.co.jp)