Having looked at Asia’s ad market at a macro level, the growing middle classes, media consumption, this fourth part of our Asian advertising and marketing series look at the creative agency landscape.
Same, same or different?
Asia has a huge number of creative agencies; in China alone, last recorded figures from 2011 suggest there were some 297,000 companies providing advertising and creative services.
Several of Asia’s main agencies are among the largest in the world. Tokyo-based Dentsu, for example, is the world’s fifth largest advertising and creative agency, with an estimated worldwide revenue of around $6 billion. After Dentsu, Asia has four other notable behemoths – Asatsu-DK and Hakuhodo DY Holdings, both of Japan; Cheil Worldwide of South Korea; and Digital Jungle of Beijing, China.
Although Asia has many large agencies of its own, it must be recognised that many of its largest agencies are branches of global organisations. Singapore, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Beijing often serve as hubs for most global agencies: WPP, Omnicom, Publicis and Interpublic.
Two of the main hubs for advertising in Asia are Japan and Singapore. These locations are often seen as the “gateways” into Asia for international companies, while also holding the largest number of independent agencies.
Japan: home of the homegrown
There are three main players in Japan, and its creative industry largely centres around these companies.
With its own skyscraper in downtown Tokyo and sales more than double those of its nearest competitor, Hakuhodo, Dentsu is the largest agency. Dentsu represents some of the country’s most recognisable brands and names, including Mount Fuji Heritage site and popular comic brand Attack on Titan.
Hakuhodo is Japan’s largest independent and oldest agency, providing a range of creative and public relations services. It boasts clients from sectors including FMCG, leisure and entertainment, and has won numerous awards for its campaigns, including the, still brilliant, 1990’s cult classic Cup Noodles ‘Hungry?’ campaign.
Singapore: global jumping off point
Singapore is one of the most notable locations in Asia for creative. With a great strategic location and favourable business policies, Singapore has attracted almost every global creative agency, providing a gateway into Asia.
Larger global players dominate in Singapore’s market; local branches of international agencies are the ones that are frequently winning the country’s creative awards.
The Singapore branches of Ogilvy & Mather and Saatchi & Saatchi are placed within the top ten most coveted agencies in the whole of Asia.
But it’s not just the big players that are doing well in Singapore; the city is developing an exciting start-up culture, with many smaller creative shops popping up.
Arcade is run entirely by a team of “creative entrepreneurs” and prides itself on its risk-taking strategies for clients – famously including the creation of Android’s first ever concept store in Indonesia.
The creative industry in Asia is burgeoning with some great global and local shops that are leveraging the diversity of the region and the exciting and rapid changes in media consumption, giving brands a great opportunity to make their mark with Asian consumers.
This article is part 4 in a series of 5 articles covering advertising and marketing in Asia.
Part 4 Creative agencies in Asia
Part 5 International brands that have won the hearts of Asian consumers
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