In the Japan and Korea Agency of the Year Awards for 2019, held last week, the creative powers in each market retained their titles, with TBWA Hakuhodo repeating as the gold winner in Japan Creative Agency of the Year and TBWA Korea repeating as the gold winner in Korea Creative Agency of the Year. Those awards capped an excellent night for TBWA-family shops, which racked up a total of eight awards in the agency categories (seven of which were golds), plus an additional two awards in the people/team categories.
Aside from the two creative agencies repeating their gold wins, however, most categories saw significant change compared with last year.
Rounding out the creative category, the Japan winner's circle welcomed two agencies—McCann Worldgroup with silver and BBDO with Bronze—which went empty-handed a year ago (when Ogilvy and J. Walter Thompson took silver and bronze, respectively).
In the race for the Japan Digital Agency of the Year, Accenture Interactive stepped up from its silver win last year to take the gold, with iProspect Japan appearing in the silver slot and Ogilvy repeating its bronze win of last year. Missing from the list, the 2018 gold winner, TBWA Hakuhodo's Digital Collective.
Change was also the theme in the Korea Digital Agency of the Year category, where TBWA's Digital Arts Network Seoul, which won bronze last year, jumped up to gold. Asiance (last year's gold winner) took silver, and Mindshare appeared in the bronze slot, leaving last year's silver winner, Isobar, out in the cold.
The media categories likewise got thoroughly shuffled. In Japan, UM, MediaCom and Dentsu X took the gold, silver and bronze, respectively, whereas 2018 saw MediaCom and UM reversed and Mindshare taking the bronze. In Korea, UM and MediaCom moved up from silver and bronze in 2018, respectively, to gold and silver this year, respectively. Last year's gold winner, Dentsu X, fell off the list, and TBWA appeared as a somewhat surprising bronze winner.
As for Japan/Korea Independent Agency of the Year, Sunny Side Up won the gold, with Asiance and Relativ* repeating their silver and bronze, respectively, from last year. That left last year's gold winner, Wieden+Kennedy Tokyo, conspicuously absent.
In Japan/Korea PR Agency of the Year, stalwart giant Edelman won gold last year, but this year it was smaller players earning the accolades: Korea's PR One with gold, Sunny Side Up with silver and KPR&Associates with bronze.
McCann Health repeated as the Japan/Korea Specialist Agency of the Year.
Rounding out TBWA's 10-award performance, gold awards not yet mentioned above went to TBWA Korea in Japan/Korea Intergrated Marketing Agency of the Year and to TBWA Hakuhodo in a trio of categories: Japan/Korea Best Culture, Japan/Korea Social Media Agency of the Year, and Japan/Korea Talent Development Program of the Year.
Accenture Interactive added to its gold in the digital category with the gold in a new category, Japan/Korea Consultancy of the Year, as well as a silver in the best culture category.