The Japan / Korea awards will be presented at the gala awards dinner on 10 December in Singapore (book now).
ANALYSIS: Niche play works well for winners
The most common factor among this year’s winners from Japan and Korea was an effort to innovate, not just in the digital space but also in terms of consulting and offering non-traditional solutions to client challenges.
In the Creative Agency category, TBWA Hakuhodo triumphed once again in Japan, having developed not just ad campaigns but products for brands such as Nissan and Quiksilver. President and CEO Yuzu Sato was also named Agency Head of the Year, and the agency dominated other People categories including Creative, New Business Development, Planner and Talent Management.
In Korea, Leo Burnett impressed by implementing sophisticated analytics around video marketing, among other moves to operate as a business partner to its clients. The overall winner, BBDO Korea, established what it called a ‘strategic solution lab’ to provide services including packaging ideas and go-to-market programmes.
The media agency winners, most of which are relatively small players given the way the Japanese and Korean markets are structured, worked hard to differentiate themselves by providing expertise on non-traditional channels. In Japan, MediaCom was awarded Gold after having invested in analytics and consumer insights and creating an online video marketplace alongside Google. Its positioning was well received, with the agency winning all of the seven pitches it took part in.
Carat was selected as the top media agency in Korea and for the sub-region. With the aim of developing its digital business, the Dentsu Aegis Network company expanded its search and mobile teams and developed a tool to recommend the optimum split of investment between TV and online video. Success ultimately comes from knowing where one’s strengths lie, and in Japan, Carat saw success by combining its consumer insights resources with Dentsu’s extensive media business expertise.
The strongest digital agencies were Proximity Korea and Isobar Japan. Proximity’s investment in data set it apart from the crowd, and it showed itself to be a leader in Korea’s nascent programmatic space. Isobar was noteworthy as a digital agency that puts emphasis on continuous innovation and the development of new services, always keeping in mind the importance of the human experience.
Among the specialist agencies, where McCann Health has long been dominant, iProspect Japan rose to the top, having strengthened its services by working closely with technology providers. In PR, Edelman Japan’s strong record continued, with the agency investing in research and art direction.
Japan Creative Agency of the Year
- Gold: TBWA\HAKUHODO Japan
- Silver: I&S BBDO Japan
Korea Creative Agency of the Year
- Gold: Leo Burnett Korea
- Silver: BBDO Korea
- Bronze: DDB Group Korea
Japan/Korea Creative Agency of the Year
- Winner: BBDO
Japan Media Agency of the Year
- Gold: MediaCom Japan
- Silver: Mindshare Japan
- Bronze: Carat Japan
Korea Media Agency of the Year
- Gold: Carat Korea
- Silver: Dentsu Media Korea
- Bronze: ZenithOptimedia Korea
Japan/Korea Media Agency of the Year
- Winner: Carat
Japan Digital Agency of the Year
- Gold: Isobar Japan
- Silver: Mindshare Japan
Korea Digital Agency of the Year
- Gold: Proximity Korea
- Silver: Leo Burnett Korea
- Bronze: Asiance Korea
Japan/Korea Digital Agency of the Year
- Winner: Isobar
- Winner: Proximity
Japan/Korea PR Agency of the Year
- Gold: Edelman Japan
- Silver: PR ONE Korea
- Bronze: Edelman Korea
Japan/Korea Specialist Agency of the Year
- Gold: iProspect Japan
- Silver: TARGIS GROUP Japan
- Bronze: McCann Health Communications Japan
Japan/Korea Account Person of the Year
- Winner: Toshiatsu Kobayashi, TBWA\HAKUHODO Japan
- Runner-up: Takuya Miyatake, McCann Health Communications Japan
Japan/Korea Agency Head of the Year
- Winner: Yuzo Sato, TBWA\HAKUHODO Japan
- Runner-up: Kevin Kwangsoo Koh, DDB Group Korea
Japan/Korea Creative of the Year
- Winner: Takahiro Hosoda, TBWA\HAKUHODO Japan
Japan/Korea New Business Development Team of the Year
- Winner: Y&R Korea New Business Team, Y&R Korea
- Runner-up: TBWA\HAKUHODO\QUANTUM, TBWA\HAKUHODO Japan
Japan/Korea Planner of the Year
- Winner: Masahiko Okazaki, TBWA\HAKUHODO Japan
- Runner-up: Lyndon Morant, Mindshare Japan
Japan/Korea Talent Management Person/Team of the Year
- Winner: Yuichiro Horie, TBWA\HAKUHODO Japan
Japan/Korea Young Achiever of the Year
- Winner: Kohei Yasuda, Mindshare Japan
- Runner-up: Ronald Fadriga, Dentsu Aegis Network Korea