Staff Reporters
Jan 31, 2023

40 Under 40 2022: Motonori Sugiyama, Droga5

With his pioneering approach, Sugiyama has transformed how Droga5 goes to market, building out a new portfolio of blue-chip clients with global and local award-winning work.

40 Under 40 2022: Motonori Sugiyama, Droga5
Proven leaders with path-breaking expertise 

Motonori Sugiyama

Group creative director
Droga5, Accenture Song 

A creative force in advertising for more than a decade—having led branding and advertising production for Apple, McDonald's, and many other global brands—Motonori Sugiyama joined Accenture Song in 2020 and founded Droga5 Tokyo.

Today he serves as senior creative director to 40 people within Accenture Song, realising his vision through a unique approach: creativity × consulting. With this pioneering approach, he has transformed and created new client businesses and how Accenture goes to market, building out a new portfolio of blue-chip clients.

Among his biggest market-shifting projects in the past few years have included helping Amazon Music, as a late-comer to music streaming services in Japan, to redefine its brand purpose and create an emotional connection with youth. Sugiyama invented a completely new way for artists and fans to connect through a new creative platform that brought together artists with a common interest in creativity.

Recently, Sugiyama led the creative direction for a 60-person team behind Minna Bank—Japan’s first digital bank targeting Gen Z users—which proved to be a breath of fresh air among the country’s traditional and saturated banking industry. He was said to be the glue holding all the pieces together and helped the bank reimagine the Gen Z customer experience and build the award-winning Minna Bank app. His team was selected to share this work at the 2022 Cannes Lions Talks—and was the only Japanese project to be invited to do so.

To drive continual upskilling and knowledge transfer, Sugiyama created a buddy system across Droga5's global network, creating opportunities for young talent to gain new experiences by collaborating with global teams in actual client work. For example, a creative member of Droga5 Tokyo was able to work with Droga5 London to create a global campaign for Amazon Music which was deployed in seven countries.

In addition, Sugiyama is responsible for a dramatic change in the way Accenture recruits creatives, founding an internship programme for creatives for the first time in the company history.

Outside of work, Sugiyama began a pro bono project to create Sayakaboshi Elementary School. Using his creative skills and experience, he redesigned the school and worked with a clinical psychologist to “change the way education is done". He is currently using crowdfunding, PR, and a digital strategy to prepare for the school's opening in April 2024. In the future, Sugiyama aims to expand this model beyond Japan to other Asian countries and, eventually, the world.

Proven leaders with path-breaking expertise 


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