Faaez Samadi
Dec 14, 2017

The year's 5 most significant launches

Our listicle-based look back at the year in APAC marketing and communications continues, with the most important launches of 2017.

The year's 5 most significant launches

In the last couple weeks before the holidays, we're taking a look back at 2017—listicle style. Today, five launches that made waves (including one which took 'making waves' as its name).

1. WPP unveils Wavemaker as merged MEC-Maxus agency

Arguably the most anticipated launch of the year. The news that MEC and Maxus were being merged, and ended, took a lot of the industry by surprise. The following months, during which GroupM was laying the foundations for Wavemaker—referred to somewhat oddly as ‘NewCo’ for a long while—had people asking just what the new agency would look like, and more pointedly, who would be left standing from the Maxus/MEC merger to run it. Global CEO Tim Castree says it is a new breed of agency taking the best from both its predecessors. Time will tell.

2. Amazon finally enters Asia-Pacific via Singapore

This launch spent around a year on the rumour mill before coming to fruition in Singapore in July and December in Australia. Following Amazon’s success in India, it was only a matter of time before it dug its claws deeper into APAC. Competitors have been preparing for a good while—Singapore’s LiveUp bundle of Lazada, Redmart, Uber, Netflix and others is clearly singularly focused on taking on the Amazon behemoth. Next year could be fascinating for brands, consumers and agencies when Amazon and it rivals go toe-to-toe. Just last week, for example, Amazon upgraded its offering in Singapore.

3. R/GA promises respectful disruption as it launches in Japan

Campaign first reported R/GA's intent to launch in Japan in 2016, and it finally happened in May. Interestingly, the company did not come to the market through a formal arrangement with a major Japanese agency, which is often standard practice. Asia-Pacific EVP Jim Moffatt did not name specific clients, but it's understood Google asked R/GA to set up an office in Tokyo. Moffatt said the company had also established relationships with several domestic brands in sectors ranging from fashion/skincare to retail to construction. Masami ‘Sammy’ Hazui (pictured left, with Moffatt), formerly head of mobile strategy for Rakuten Group, was named to lead the Tokyo office.

4. DAN launches experience-focused media network

Dentsu Aegis Network (DAN) launched Dentsu X, an agency network that it called an evolution of Dentsu Media, with hopes it would help DAN expand its presence in Europe and the US. The entity offers communication and media planning, content creation, technology, data and behavioural insights. Singapore-based Takaki Hibino (pictured) was named global brand president in addition to his role is CEO of Dentsu-brand agencies in Asia-Pacific. (On December 6 DAN announced in a reshuffle that Hibino would return to Tokyo as executive officer of Dentsu Inc, responsible for global business development. Mitsuyuki Nakamura was named global and APAC president of Dentsu X, while Dick Van Motman was named CEO of Dentsu creative agencies.)   

5. Shiseido’s launch of Waso, a beauty brand for millennials

Shiseido rolled out a new global brand, Waso, aimed specifically at millennials. As the target audience is undeniably difficult, the brand is designed to gain acceptance through subtlety and an absence of clear distinction. Asked to define the target audience, Azsa West, a creative director at Wieden + Kennedy Tokyo (W+K) who led the development of the brand, said: “I don’t define them. They define themselves.”

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