BY MEGAN GRAHAM, ADAGE

The Tombras Group, 73 years old, is out to prove that Knoxville, Tennessee, is home to the next great agency. The family-owned, full-service shop—which also has offices in Nashville; Charlotte, North Carolina; Washington, D.C. and, coming soon, Atlanta—is led by Chairman Charles Tombras Jr., and his son, President Dooley Tombras. It recently named its first female CEO, longtime employee Alice Mathews. 

In 2018, new-business wins included Paddy Irish Whiskey, Boston Market and Walmart, and it continued its off-kilter Moon Pie social media work. Tombras helped Orangetheory Fitness hit what it claims was the chain’s biggest sales day ever with a campaign that offered a free workout to people who exercised during the extra hour of daylight saving. Tombras’ Walmart work included a Facebook Live concert in Harrisburg, Illinois, after a local, “Yodel Boy” Mason Ramsey, had been filmed singing in a Walmart there. The concert, the shops says, had 3.6 million online viewers who shared it 12,000 times.

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