Robert Sawatzky
Apr 9, 2024

AKQA brings in Nobuhiro Arai as its new Tokyo ECD

The award-winning creative director joins AKQA from TBWA Hakuhodo in a bid to connect the WPP design-led innovation agency more strongly to Japanese culture.

AKQA brings in Nobuhiro Arai as its new Tokyo ECD

AKQA is bringing in new creative leadership to its Tokyo office, luring award-winning creative Nobuhiro Arai to be its new ECD. Formerly a senior creative director with TBWA Hakuhodo, Arai has won more than 150 domestic and international awards, including a Clio, Adfest, and Adstar Grand Prix and was named to Campaign's 40 under 40 in 2022.

Among his most notable campaigns are the ‘Giga Selfie’ project for Tourism Australia that won a Gold Lion in Cannes, as well as the viral ProPILOT Mops demonstration for Nissan at the Japan NBA Games that stunned crowds. 

Leading the Tokyo studio's creative endeavours, Arai will focus on building-in more connection with Japanese audiences in AKQA's brand experience work with clients. A fan of AKQA's creative innovation work for years, Arai tells Campaign his mission "is to create more chemistry between Japanese culture and AKQA's world-class creativity."

Explaining that he wants to push traditional advertising boundaries, Arai says technology may be one of the ways to accomplish this, but only by helping to elicit human responses. 

"I want to extend the boundaries of traditional advertising and brand experience, I believe that each target audience is the star of the story. I want to move that audience physically and emotionally and create a connection between them and that brand," he tells Campaign.

"Times have changed. Digital, mobile, and social are all pre-installed in every audience and brand as a matter of course. Perhaps AI will soon be the same. The key is not new technology or media, but a new way to move hearts and minds. Digital and physical, business science and creative excitement, AI and humanity, we want to create the best outcomes for brands," he says.

AKQA CCO Peter Lund is confident this will lead to strong client outcomes. "With Nobuhiro at the helm, we are confident in our ability to continue delivering groundbreaking work that resonates with audiences and drives meaningful impact for our clients," Lund says. His exceptional talent and visionary approach to creativity align perfectly with AKQA's mission of redefining the future of brand experiences."

Campaign Asia

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