Staff Reporters
Nov 20, 2023

40 Under 40 2023: Masatoshi Usami, TBWA Hakuhodo

Masatoshi Usami has leveraged his unique creativity to transcend all constraints and challenges, delivering meaningful and impactful campaigns for clients.

40 Under 40 2023: Masatoshi Usami, TBWA Hakuhodo
Proven leaders with path-breaking expertise

Masatoshi Usami

Creative director

Masatoshi Usami believes that if the first impression or reaction to any idea or a creation is a bewildered ‘no way!’, then the work possibly has the DNA to cut through the clutter. It’s this unique approach to bringing the unexpected into creative conversations and ideation processes, that’s enabled Usami and his team to explore the same level of curiosity and questioning in every discussion.

Never one to sit and wait, Usami has always pushed forward, looking for opportunities to create impact for his clients. He was a leader in the creation team for Shellmet, which transforms discarded scallop shells into a new resource Shellstic®︎: A shell-shaped helmet. Beginning purely from his passion to do meaningful work after discovering the impact discarded scallop shells had on Japan's largest scallop-catching village, Shellmet won Japan’s first Gold Innovation Lion at Cannes Lions, and created a new business model and revenue sharing avenue for the agency. But more importantly, it tackled the problem of ocean waste and protected the fishermen by generating a new income source for them during the pandemic.

More recently, in May 2023, he launched Diversushi, a new dining experience, which transforms visually impaired people’s anxiety about eating outside into excitement. Diversushi is a bite-sized dish inspired by sushi, which can be tasted directly from the hand and eaten in one bite, taking away the stress of using cutlery. He’s also organised tasting events and released recipes in order for restaurants to adopt this inclusive way of eating.

These are just two examples of Usami’s creativity that have challenged the conventional boundaries of advertising, pushing to both protect people and the planet for a stronger future.

Outside of his direct work, Usami teaches a course on “Designing Social Influence” at Sendenkaigi, Japan's largest provider of educational courses on marketing communications. He also teaches educational courses for job-seeking students, conveying the potential of advertising creativity through various case studies and personal experiences. Usami was also selected as a medalist for the Japan Advertising Agencies Association (JAAA) Creator of the Year 2022, one amongst nine selected every year. 

Proven leaders with path-breaking expertise


Campaign Asia

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