Since moving to China, I have been interested in working, living, or traveling to Japan. With this in mind, I decided to put together a Top 20 list of Advertising Agencies in Japan. This list will look at both 4A advertising agencies in Japan and local advertising agencies in Japan. In the past we have taken a look at some of the top advertising agencies in Asia and this list is designed to give a better understanding of the advertising agencies in Japan. So with out further delay, here is the list:
Top 20 list of Advertising Agencies in Japan
BIRDMAN is an award-winning interactive design agency from Tokyo, Japan. Their portfolio includes some of the largest and most famous brands in the world, such as Toyota, Nikon, Honda, Adobe, Facebook and many others. Their work consist in unifying design and interactivity in new and unique ways.
Formerly the Japan office of Leo Burnett, D’Arcy and in partnership with Dentsu. Beacon communications is a media neutral agency that specializes in creating integrated campaigns that move consumers to act. They focus on helping foreign companies build brands in Japan. Beacon is an affiliate of the Publicis Groupe. Dentsu has an equity stake in the company. In addition to its own clients, beacon handles Leo Burnett’s brands and collaborates with Dentsu, Starcom, ZenithOptimedia and DigitasLBi.
Mondo Media Networks is a company created by Social Media enthusiasts from different countries, living and working in Japan. Their first company; Mondo-Books, has grown and extend its market thanks to the use of Social Media Marketing and bilingual advertising solutions developed by all members of the company. Over the years, they have adopted and develop smart strategies for marketing and advertising at very low cost, with the adequate use of Social Media networks, Japanese and foreign.
They can provide different services starting from the basic set-up for networking systems, to consulting, and training to management of social channels for marketing, advertising and branding purposes in different languages. SEO and Web-design.
DENTSU INC. maintains the top share in the Japanese advertising market, which accounts for 11.0% of the global market. In terms of net sales, Dentsu is the No.1 advertising company in the domestic market.
The reason for Dentsu’s dominance is twofold: The Company has a diverse client portfolio and enjoys solid buying power in all major mass media formats. Dentsu handles the advertising campaigns of many blue-chip companies, and major global clients have chosen the Company to act as a partner in the Japanese market. Such connections underpin a well-balanced client portfolio.
Dentsu is also the headquarters of the Dentsu Group, with a global presence spanning 124 countries across five continents. According to Advertising Age (April 28, 2014 edition), Dentsu is the world’s largest advertising company, based on non-consolidated gross profit in 2013, and as an agency group, the Dentsu Group is ranked fifth globally. From a geographical perspective, the Dentsu Group holds formidable market share in the Asia-Pacific region and also in Western Europe.
UltraSuperNew K.K.(USN) is a creative agency based in Harajuku, Tokyo. Established in early 2007 as an internationally minded team with a mission to make a difference in the competitive Japanese market, USN works with Red Bull, Electronic Arts and many others. USN specializes in developing engaging 360o communication with a strong base in digital.
Located at the center of of the city, Landor’s Tokyo office offers a full-service branding program that includes brand strategy and design for clients. With prototyping as part of their strategic process, they help their clients focus on the future and make decisions more quickly and confidently.
High Concept Inc. is a web marketing and development company that handles all things creative. They offer digital strategies. Their clients are Nike Japan, NHK, Avex, MTV Japan, etc. The CEO is Takeo Yatabe who lived in NYC for a decade before he established this company based in Shibuya, Tokyo. They love music and travel.
Representing a global network of more than 2,000 employees spread across 31 offices in 22 countries, MRM is one of the top five digital and direct agencies in the world.
In Japan, MRM Worldwide evolved out of McCann Direct, which was established in 1979 as a division of McCann Erickson. MRM Worldwide was launched on April 1, 2002, in Japan and is now a legal entity under McCann Worldgroup. Walk through their doors and you’ll meet doers and dreamers, artists and innovators, technologists and planners. But they are all craftspeople. They are explorers of the psyche and students of the marketplace. They rely on human truths and behavioral insights to reveal the clues to creating demand in a fully networked digital world.
W+K Tokyo Lab began as a record label and creative workshop out of our Tokyo office in 2003. Hybrid is the concept and mission behind TokyoLab’s inception and subsequent endeavors in music and visual production. When Wieden+Kennedy came to Tokyo, we wanted our office to have a relationship to the city unique as Tokyo itself. This incubator has resulted in creative collaborations with electronic and hip-hop artists like Hifana, Afra, Takagi Masakatsu and DJ Uppercut. Through CDs, DVDs and now mobile technology, W+K Tokyo Lab’s interpretation of hybrid is both global and distinctively Tokyo: good music, fresh visuals and new concepts of creative expression.
Ogilvy & Mather is committed to creating “Great Work That Works” and solves clients’ communication issues. Their ambition is to capture deep insights into the way consumers relate to brands and to create emotionally involving work that reaches into their hearts. They invest heavily in the critical insights that drive the best creative ideas. With insight-driven ideas, they create true consumer involvement that successfully drives sales and delivers exceptional ROI. Without insight you lose relevance, without creativity you lose impact. Creating expensive ads with no insight or simply using highly paid celebrities is not the way to build a brand. They do not buy media. They sell ideas.
Ogilvy & Mather Japan does not have a department dedicated to buying mass media time and space. The commissions generated through media buying restricts their freedom in advertising because it could position they “too close” to certain media and put a priority on “selling media”. They make full use of all types of media, both new and conventional, and recommend the communications interface that most effectively reaches the target audience.
comnico is a leading social media marketing agency in Japan. They have been engaged in more than 200 social media accounts. Their clients are basically famous B2C brands. They are planning to expand our business overseas.
Their company name “comnico” derives from the Latin word “communico,” meaning to inform, share and participate in. And this is their line of expertise – they focus on adding value to new and emerging forms of communication that anyone on the internet can take part in, including blogs, community websites and SNS.
In a nutshell, Maxx Marketing makes stuff. Mostly, originally designed products and point-of-sale displays. But they are also big with brand promotions and entertainment partnerships for their best-in-class clients including Kellogg’s, Coca-Cola, KFC, Danone, Nestlé, HTC and other names you’re sure to recognize in over 100+ markets worldwide. And they do it with an unsurpassed track record, skilled quality control and staff in 12 worldwide offices and six creative centers.
They are a unique hybrid among agencies with global capabilities in integrated promotional marketing. They connect brands to emerging market trends and consumer insight through promotional activation, custom product design and manufacturing, entertainment licensing partnerships and digital innovation.
FICC is a digital marketing agency specializing in new product launches for consumer brands. They have extensive experience in digital promotions, and proven know-how to stimulate purchase in retail environments. They have research and strategic planning capabilities as well as a full in-house production team.
J. Walter Thompson, the world’s best-known marketing communications brand, has been inventing pioneering ideas for the past 150 years. Headquartered in New York, JWT is a true global network with more than 200 offices in over 90 countries, employing nearly 10,000 marketing professionals. JWT consistently ranks among the top agency networks in the world and continues a dominant presence in the industry by staying on the leading edge—from hiring the industry’s first female copywriter to developing award-winning branded content today.
“Because we are different”. Strategy, Ideas, Services, they suggests unique solutions as a total communication company. They help businesses both local in Japan and international engage with consumers. Their experienced staff are knowledgeable and passionate about finding bespoke solutions to their clients needs. They have a successful track record of working with a variety of brands including Car, Fashion, Jewelry, Restaurants, Luxury brands which continues to expand in scope and clients. SivanS works hard to be a “genuine partner” with their clients, and not only in achieving set goals but surpassing them.
ASATSU-DK Inc. is Japan’s third-largest full service advertising agency. Since its establishment in 1956, ADK’s unique management philosophy, “Management by All”, has given the agency a reputation in the industry as being creative, hard working and people-oriented.
The steady advance of digital technologies has driven diversification in media and communication devices, and as a result consumer lifestyles and purchasing patterns are undergoing dramatic change. To succeed in today’s global competitive environment, companies need more than just strong technologies and products. They need strengths in marketing programs that leverage new information technologies to seize the attention of consumers whose preferences continually change; branding activities that capture and hold the attention of consumers; and creative ideas that truly motivate consumers to take action.
Offering digital marketing services in Japan. Their specialties are SEO service, Email Marketing, SNS Marketing, Reputation Management, Competitive Analysis, Keyword Research etc. They also work for a Japanese company trying to do business in the U.S market.
Founded in 2009, KKBC is a dynamic and growing digital advertising agency, differentiating with award winning creative service, exceptional quality, and unmatched customer service. Their creative director is highly acclaimed, a recipient of creative awards that are reserved for only the world’s most creative people. KKBC’s creative staff is second to none, staffing with highly-creative, highly-experienced, highly-educated, and highly-motivated expert team members. This translates into staff who are dedicated to and creatively pursue their clients’ success.
AKQA is an ideas and innovation company. They exist to create the future for their clients. They collaborate with forward-thinking companies to create the future. AKQA is currently home to over 1,600 employees in eleven offices around the world including Amsterdam, Atlanta, Berlin, London, New York, Paris, Portland, San Francisco, Shanghai, Tokyo and Washington D.C. Clients include Audi, Delta, Google, Nike, TUI, Verizon and the World Wildlife Fund.
Happy combination of multiple skills, BMedia was born from the desire to efficiently mix them all. To they, branding, marketing, trading, advertising, networking or management are obviously connected, and so are their many services. Whether you pick one up or ask for global support, their long-experienced international team (a strong alliance of 8 collaborators mastering Japanese, English and French) will harmoniously work in synergy. They believe that’s the key of success. Their fast and ongoing development suggests they may be on the right path.
Final thoughts on Advertising Agencies in Japan
There are hundreds of advertising agencies in Japan and this list was designed to give an overview of the advertising industry. I am sure there are many notable agencies I missed on this list, but it is a top 20 list and I can’t add them all. With that said, do you know of any advertising agencies in Japan that should have made the list? If you do leave a comment and let us know about your experience.
Note: I have not hired any of these agencies and I do not have firsthand experience with their work. Most of the descriptions are taking from LinkedIn profiles or from the agency’s website.