Our most popular article of the year was an analysis of Dentsu’s reasons for launching Dentsu Digital, a standalone company that opened for business in July. CEO Toshiya Oyama outlined the company’s aims in detail, which included eventually becoming bigger than Dentsu itself. Soon after launch, its image suffered a major setback when improper practice came to light at one of Dentsu’s digital divisions. Dentsu Digital has huge potential, but the impetus is now on the company to demonstrate full transparency and play its part in making the industry as a whole more accountable.
Next up, unsurprisingly, is our coverage of the allegations of overbilling at Dentsu. News came to light in September that Toyota had been overcharged for a prolonged period. The incident raised a number of questions and has prompted some clients to consider their relationships with agencies more carefully. Opaque practices are a problem that still affects the media buying industry globally and we expect closer scrutiny of contracts and remuneration as we move into 2017.
One of the unexpected highlights of Ad:tech Tokyo was a contentious delivery by Scott McNealy, co-founder of Sun Microsystems. McNealy’s casual dismissal of Japan as a “beautiful, safe and clean” country with none of the attributes needed for real innovation should be a serious wake-up call for the marketing industry, which depends on innovation in order to stay relevant. We do not agree with McNealy’s advice that Japan should “just relax”. Japan clearly still has much to offer the world, and in order to fulfill that potential, its companies must open themselves up to greater risk taking.
The liberties Japanese copywriters take with English are a regular source of amusement for foreign observers in Japan. In June, after Musee Platinum decided to pull down its ‘Enjoy the Girl’ line for its summer promotion following criticism (from Japanese consumers), we asked what the value is for brands in reinterpreting English for a domestic audience.
Our very first Agency of the Year event in Tokyo drew an enthusiastic crowd and saw companies such as TBWA Hakuhodo, Mindshare and Edelman win top prizes for their work over the past 12 months. We would like to take this opportunity again to thank all entrants, judges and attendees for making it happen.