MullenLowe Group has launched in Japan, building on MullenLowe Profero Tokyo, which has been in operation since 2005.
The network consists of three parts. They include MullenLowe Profero, which continues to exist but is now billed as an experience-led digital business transformation agency; MullenLowe Tokyo, a creative agency; and MullenLowe Mediahub, a media agency.
James Hollow, most recently head of MullenLowe Profero in Tokyo, will lead the group as CEO. He will also be responsible for Korea and will be supported by Sunggong Won, commercial director for Japan and Korea, and Soichiro Yanagi, head of media solutions for Japan. The restructure in Japan follows similar steps to integrate services in other markets, including China, London and New York.
Hollow said increasing attention from brands on programmatic media and data-led digital marketing presented an important opportunity for the agency network. He said he expects Japan to be “predominantly programmatic in the next five years”.
That might sound ambitious considering that many marketers’ grip on programmatic technology is still shaky. But Hollow said he expects Japan to reach a tipping point relatively soon and pointed to increased pressure to catch up to global standards as companies apply more rigour to their marketing activities. “Japan tends to hold out [when it comes to adoption of new technologies], then there will be a massive correction,” he said.
While questionable brand safety remains a stumbling block for programmatic globally, it is less of a concern in Japan. Hollow attributed this to lack of experience but said it is likely to become a bigger consideration in the near future, and that clients will look for tools to offer safe solutions.
The change means that MullenLowe Group, which is part of Interpublic Group (IPG), will cut ties with Standard Advertising, which has been a joint-venture partner in Japan for 15 years. Standard Advertising will continue to operate as an independent agency.