Tombras Group

Last updated
Charles Tombras Advertising, Inc.
The Tombras Group
FormerlyCharles Tombras & Associates
TypePrivately held company
Industry Advertising
FounderCharles Tombras, Sr.
United States of America
Number of locations
5 (2018)
Area served
United States
Key people
  • Charles Tombras, Jr.
  • Chairman
  • Dooley Tombras
  • President
  • Alice Matthews
  • Chief Executive Officer [1]
Services Advertising, Marketing, Digital Media, Social Media, Branding, Media Buying, Public Relations
Number of employees
300 [2]  (2020)

Tombras is a full service advertising agency founded in 1946.


With annual billings of $270 million, Tombras is one of the top 25 largest independent national advertising agencies. Tombras is headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee with offices in Washington, D.C., New York, New York, Atlanta, Georgia and Charlotte, North Carolina. Tombras provides advertising, marketing, public relations, analytics, and content development services. Tombras is a member of the American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA). [3]


The company was founded by Charles Tombras Sr. in 1946, dba Charles Tombras & Associates. By the 1960s, notable clients included the Tennessee Valley Authority [4] and AAMCO Transmissions. [5]

Charles Tombras Jr. joined the firm in 1966 after he returned from a tour of duty in Vietnam.

When the senior Tombras retired in 1982, Charles Jr. took over as president, in 2018 he became chairman. Under his leadership, the Tombras Group has grown from 25 to over 300 employees.

In June 2017, Tombras Group created a new division to work with Amazon's search and display functions, and hired Marketplace Ignition's Kevin Packler to lead the group as Vice President. [6] Charles Jr.'s son, Dooley Tombras is the third-generation of Tombras family leadership, and in 2018 became president.

In 2019, the firm opened offices in Atlanta and Manhattan. [2]

In February 2021, Tombras was named agency of record for the American Cancer Society. [7]

Notable campaigns

Click It or Ticket / Drive Sober / Distracted Driving

Since 2004 Tombras has launched annual campaigns for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration using the “Click It or Ticket” message.

Additionally for NHTSA, Tombras developed the "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign to combat impaired driving as well as the distracted driving campaign to communicate the dangers of distracted driving.


Working with McDonald's since 1972, Tombras is one of the chain's longest tenured agency partners. Tombras has developed notable national campaigns, including those for new product launches like Chicken McNuggets, Mickey D's Sweet Tea, [8] and Scratch-Made Biscuits.



Charles Tombras was the agency's founder.

Tombras Group Chairman Charles Tombras Jr., the son of the founder Charles Tombras, was commissioned after his graduation from the University of Tennessee (UT), where he was enrolled as a Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) cadet. He served a tour of duty in Vietnam, where he commanded a platoon in the 1st Battalion (Airborne), 8th Cavalry Regiment ("Jumping Mustangs"), was awarded the Bronze Star, Bronze Star for Valor, and Air Medal, and attained the rank of 1st Lieutenant. [12] He remains a notable supporter of UT, having created the Charles Tombras Memorial Scholarship in the school's College of Communications & Information. [13] His service to the university was recognized with the awarding of its 2013 Donald G. Hileman Alumni Award. [14] In February 2021, when the firm won the American Cancer Society account, his son Dooley, the firm's President at the time, acknowledged that Tombras Jr. had been undergoing cancer treatment for 20 years. [7]

Dooley Tombras serves as the company's president, as of February 2021. In June 2018, he was listed on the Adweek Creative 100. [15]

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  1. Bloomberg Business, "Company Overview of Charles Tombras Advertising, Inc.", accessed June 4, 2015.
  2. 1 2 "Exclusive: American Cancer Society Names Tombras as Media Agency of Record". Knox News. January 3, 2020. Retrieved February 26, 2021.
  3. American Association of Advertising Agencies Archived 2012-07-16 at
  4. Broadcasting , February 26, 1968, "Broadcast Advertising," p. 31
  5. IEEE Spectrum , September 1968, "Advertisers", p. 156.
  6. "Tombras Group creates new Amazon division, hiring Marketplace Ignition's Kevin Packler". The Drum. Retrieved 2017-11-16.
  7. 1 2 "Exclusive: American Cancer Society Names Tombras as Media Agency of Record". Adweek. February 26, 2021. Retrieved February 26, 2021.
  8. "Sweet tea coupons in ice sculpture cool off Knoxville" . Retrieved 2015-12-28.[ dead link ]
  9. "The World's Most Innovative Companies 2018: Social Media Honorees". Fast Company. Retrieved 2020-07-06.
  10. "Small Agency of the Year, 76-150 Employees, Silver: The Tombras Group". 2015-08-03. Retrieved 2020-07-06.
  11. Hoffman, Melissa (April 11, 2014). "Adweek's Top 5 Commercials of the Week". Ad Week.
  12. "Ad man Charlie Tombras meets the challenge". Knox News. June 24, 2012. Retrieved February 26, 2021.
  13. University of Tennessee Knoxville, College of Communications & Information, "CCI Scholarships", . Accessed Thursday 4 June 2015.
  14. University of Tennessee Knoxville, Tennessee Today: News & Events for the UT Community, "Advertising Executive Tombras to Receive Alumnus Award", November 5, 2013
  15. Staff|June 10, Adweek; 2018. "Adweek's Creative 100: Meet the Multitalented Masters Behind Today's Most Innovative Work". Retrieved 2020-07-06.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)