Robert Sawatzky
Nov 26, 2020

Cheil and TBWA-related agencies shine in Japan/Korea AOY awards

TBWA Hakuhodo and TBWA Korea combine for 11 awards, but Cheil strikes the most gold, Accenture Interactive shows strength in Japan and UM retains top media honours.

Clockwise from upper left: TBWA Hakuhodo, Cheil Worldwide, UM Korea, Accenture Interactive
Clockwise from upper left: TBWA Hakuhodo, Cheil Worldwide, UM Korea, Accenture Interactive

TBWA-related agencies continued to flex their combined muscles in Campaign's Japan/Korea Agency of the Year Awards, unveiled earlier today, tallying a total of seven agency awards and another four people/team nods.

TBWA Hakuhodo was again coronated with Japan Creative Agency of the Year gold, as it builds a vaunted dynasty. In the eight years that Campaign AOY has been held in this market, the agency has struck gold in the creative category no less than seven times, the only exception being 2017 when it settled for silver. This year’s judges were impressed by the value of “real disruption” brought in by the agency that was taken through to execution.

See all 2020 Agency of the Year Awards coverage <

See the full list of 2020 Japan / Korea winners <

The agency also won gold for Best Culture in the region and gold again for its Agency Marketer Partnership of the Year with Nissan.

Over in Korea, TBWA Korea also scored an impressive four agency awards, but failed to find gold as its three-year winning streak for Creative Agency of the Year came to an end.  

Instead, it was Cheil Worldwide that usurped the throne with a powerful display of no fewer than five gold awards, taking top spot as: Korea Creative Agency of the Year, Korea Digital Agency of the Year, Brand Experience Agency of the Year, Integrated Marketing Agency of the Year and Event Marketing Agency of the Year.  The AOY judges lauded Cheil’s ability to keep strong long-term relationships with clients as a key to their success, alongside their “amazing work”.

Runners-up with silver awards in the Creative Agency of the Year categories were Grey Tokyo in Japan and DDB Group in Korea.   

Accenture Interactive was another key agency to watch, winning golds for both Japan Digital Agency of the Year and Consultancy of the Year while adding a silver for Best Culture in addition to three people/team awards.

On the media agency side, UM defended its top position in both markets, once again winning gold as Korea Media Agency of the Year and taking silver as Japan Media Agency of the Year, (no golds were awarded in the category this year) after winning the gold last year.

Specialist agency awards

Among the specialist categories, many of last year’s incumbents returned with strong showings.  Korea’s PR One, which won PR Agency of the Year gold last year, and Japan’s Sunny Side Up, which took Independent Agency of the Year in 2019, swapped their gold awards this year with PR One winning gold for Independent AOY (ahead of UltraSuperNew and Sunny Side Up) and PR One winning PR Agency gold in Japan (edging Edelman’s silver).  This year, there was a separate Korea PR Agency of the year category which awarded a lone silver to Synergy Hill + Knowlton Korea.

McCann Health once again repeated as the Specialist Agency of the Year gold winner ahead of Vpon Japan (silver) and Superdrive (bronze). iProspect Japan, meanwhile, took gold as Programmatic Agency of the Year.

Dentsu Isobar, meanwhile improved on last year’s silver to win gold as Social Media Agency of the Year. The agency ended up with four awards in total, adding a silver in Brand Experience and two bronzes in Japan’s Creative and Digital agency categories.

Individual and team awards

The people categories were dominated by two agencies, both from Japan. 

Clockwise from top left: Yoko Komachi, Masaya Asai, Chris Iki, Patrycja Sojka


TBWA Hakuhodo had four winners: Chris Iki won Agency Head of the Year; Masaya Asai was named Creative Person of the Year; Sayaka Ohno won Account Person of the Year; and Patrycja Sojka was awarded Strategic/Brand Planner of the Year.

Accenture Interactive took home the remaining three awards: Yoko Komachi was Young Business Leader of the Year; Tomoko Kajkawa was named Channel/Engagement Planner of the Year and its Experience Architect Team won for New Business Development Person/Team of the Year.

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