Gabey Goh
Nov 12, 2015

Isobar Japan and Dentsu iX to merge

TOKYO - Isobar Japan and Dentsu iX will merge to become one agency, Dentsu Isobar, in a move that will make the new entity the largest global digital agency in Tokyo.

L-R: Lin, Tokumaru
L-R: Lin, Tokumaru

Effective from January 2016, the combined agency will number over 300 people.

Takahiro Uchinaga, currently CEO of Isobar Japan, will become chief client officer of the new Dentsu Isobar agency, while Hidetoshi Tokumaru, currently CEO of Dentsu iX, will become CEO of Dentsu Isobar.

Jean Lin, Isobar global CEO said Dentsu iX’s creatively led technology teams complement Isobar’s global Brand Commerce offering, and further accelerates the network’s ambitions both in Japan and globally.

Speaking to Campaign Asia-Pacific, Lin said that the move was motivated by the need to better provide clients with a “full end-to-end service.”

“For the majority of our clients, Japan is an important market,” she said. “We have an energetic and agile team in Isobar Japan of about 60 people, but they needed the resources to achieve scale.”

Lin said that parent company Dentsu Aegis had embarked on a process to evaluate how best to provide this and also be consistent with the global vision of the network—with the merger being the result.

“This is a very positive act,” Lin asserted. “And will provide a better foundation from Japan for our clients and enable better collaboration. We are very positive on the outlook for Isobar moving forward.”

Lin said that the world has become more borderless, but each market, especially in a region such as Asia, is unique and requires localised solutions.

She added that the new Denstu Isobar will be well positioned to serve international brands seeking a bigger share of the Japanese market, thanks to local presence, products and insights.

In addition, Japanese brands seeking a larger international base will be able to tap into Isobar's global footprint to achieve objectives.

“A lot of discussions” are now taking place between Tokumaru and Uchinaga to hash out the details of how best to work together and achieve synergy. 

In a press release, Tokumaru expressed excitement over joining the Isobar network and becoming the largest global digital agency in Japan. “This move means that we will be able to collaborate with overseas offices for global clients and provide innovative digital solutions in the Japanese market,” he said.

Lin declined to go into detail about the current client portfolio, but pointed to work the agency already does in collaboration with Denstu Aegis Network sister agencies for P&G in the Japanese market and Uniqlo in expanding its international presence, as examples of the future work envisioned with this merger.

This story has been edited after initial publication, to add the comments from Lin.


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