Staff Reporters
Apr 1, 2021

Time for ADK to foster a better agency culture

AGENCY REPORT CARD: Retooled and programmed for business success under Bain Capital, the Japanese-based network needs to address its DEI shortcomings and showcase more creativity.

ADK won awards for Avatar Robot Cafe
ADK won awards for Avatar Robot Cafe

Now that ADK's house is in order under Bain Capital with a clearer structure and better productivity, it set out this year to invest in new growth areas outside of Japan like healthcare and performance marketing.

The centrepiece has been a new international performance agency brand, ADK Connect, launched in January 2020 alongside a Vietnamese digital agency acquisition and has since expanded to multiple markets across Asia including a takeover of ADK's entire Singapore operation. 

At its core, ADK still runs on a large traditional advertising and media business in Japan, but is still catching up to its global peers outside of Japan in the rest of Asia. What it needs to work on now is a stronger and more supportive creative work culture to go along with that business acumen.

Initiatives to promote stronger staff support, nurture a positive culture and encourage greater diversity and inclusion remain woefully inadequate despite a track record of promoting inclusivity in its work. The above-pictured Avatar Robot Café, where people with disabilities have re-entered the work force, waiting on restaurant patrons via robot proxies continued to win accolades but the agency lacks more current standout commercial work. 

So just how poorly did ADK actually score on people and diversity? Our full Agency Report Card on ADK—with the overall grade plus a detailed analysis and scores for management; innovation; clients and business; creativity; and people and diversity—is available only to Campaign Asia-Pacific members.

Become a member to get access to all 39 of the 2020 Agency Report Cards, plus many additional benefits. 

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