Marketing Featured East Asia

Rui Nago promoted to chief strategy officer role at Grey Tokyo

Tokyo, Japan – Grey Tokyo has announced the promotion of current executive planning director Rui Nago to the role of chief strategy officer. He first joined the agency in 2010, and has since then been responsible for developing the brand, creative, and overall communication strategies across the agency’s clients.

Some of the campaigns that he has worked on include P&G Pantene’s brand campaigns: ‘#More freedom in job-hunting hair’, ‘The Hairy Tale’, ‘#PrideHair’, and Domino’s Pizza Sanchoku (farm-fresh), to name a few.

Speaking on his new role, he said, “The world is changing with increasing speed, and we cannot see what the future holds in these times. I believe that strategy once again redefines a brand’s reason for existence, guides the brand in the right direction for their future, is creative, and is becoming more and more crucial. I am excited to help create many clients’ future whilst leveraging Grey’s strength of seamlessly connecting strategy with creativity.”

Meanwhile, Yukiko Ochiai, president and CEO at Grey Tokyo, commented, “Rui is an exceptional strategist, successfully driving Grey’s effectiveness agenda to bring success to our key clients. He has been a fundamental contributor to our recognition as Spikes Asia Agency of the Year 2022, alongside our 2021 APAC Effie wins.”

She added, “He will be instrumental in relentlessly playing different combinations of strategic skills from within the group to enhance our creative solutions and help our clients navigate their way through a challenging and changing world.”

Platforms Featured East Asia

AnyMind’s ¥4b funding to strengthen e-commerce enablement 

Singapore – Japan-based end-to-end commerce enablement company AnyMind has raised ¥4b in funding, around US$91.7m, to strengthen the company’s advancement in the e-commerce enablement space and fund future acquisitions.

The Series D funds were raised from new investors including JIC Venture Growth Investments, Japan Post Investment Corporation, Nomura SPARX Investment, and PROTO Ventures Inc., along with existing investor Mitsubishi UFJ Capital.

In addition, the funds raised will be used for future acquisitions both in Japan and internationally. To date, AnyMind Group has acquired seven companies from various parts of the region including Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand and India. The reasons to make these acquisitions were either to acqui-hire a company’s leadership, expand into new businesses or regions, acquire additional sales channels, or all three. 

Kosuke Sogo, CEO and co-founder of AnyMind Group, said, “Despite COVID-19 and geopolitical situations impacting the world, we have still been able to achieve solid growth as a business. On the other hand, we are seeing economies across Asia, including our operating markets of ASEAN and India, rapidly regaining growth momentum.” 

He added, “We will continue to grow our business at a pace that matches our ambitions, look towards expanding our capabilities through M&A, and strengthen our investment and profit structure for growth, as we continue to become the next-generation infrastructure for commerce in Asia.”

In March this year, the company launched AnyChat, a conversational commerce platform, and in April, the company launched e-commerce management platform AnyX, which optimises e-commerce operations through central management of multiple e-commerce channels. Funds from this round will be used to further enhance existing platforms and strengthen market share across the company’s operating regions. 

On the company’s various business and product movements, Sogo said, “We will continue to make it exciting for everyone to do business by enhancing and expanding our innovations that form the infrastructure for the next generation of commerce. Over the years we have developed platforms across the end-to-end spectrum of commerce that can be used individually, and can now also be used as part of an integrated suite of tools to deliver more effective and efficient commerce for businesses.” 

He added, “We are just at the start of our journey, as we power some of the most exciting enterprises and forward-thinking publishers and influencers in this part of the world.”

Technology Featured APAC

PubMatic ties with AlikeAudience to offer sell-side audience targeting to media buyers in Indonesia

Sydney, Australia – Programmatic digital advertising company PubMatic has partnered with audience intelligence platform AlikeAudience to enable advertisers in Indonesia to access quality audience data on the supply side.

Aside from Indonesia, the partnership is also for key markets Australia and Japan. It aims to expand the reach of Connect, PubMatic’s differentiated audience solution that leverages addressable signals from across the internet to help data owners drive monetisation and help media buyers drive performance. Connect allows media buyers to leverage a portfolio approach to addressability.

AlikeAudience offers bespoke demographic, interest, and transactional data and has more than 7,000 audience segments in the US, Australia, Japan, and SEA, across a wide range of industries, including FMCG, automotive, and financial. The company has substantial operations in APAC and the U.S. and assembles its audience data from exclusively consumer-consented CRM data, billions of unique mobile signals, and transaction data from multinational credit card companies.

Moreover, AlikeAudience has been operating in the APAC market for the past five years, working primarily with demand-side platforms (DSPs) across the region, and this partnership makes the company’s high-value audience data available on the supply side for the first time.

Brandon Lee, PubMatic’s director of data and audience for APAC, commented, “We believe that working directly with PubMatic gives media buyers greater control over data, along with higher match rates and better campaign performance. Our proximity to publishers and consumers means fewer hops around the ecosystem, making SSPs uniquely positioned to help brands reach audiences at the right place and time.”

Meanwhile, Bosco Lam, AlikeAudience’s founder and CEO, believes that advertisers will benefit from access to PubMatic’s quality mobile app media inventory, coupled with unique audiences created through packaged deals from the supply side.

“Advertisers are seeking to ensure their digital advertising campaigns are privacy-compliant and do not utilise personally identifiable information, and that has been our competitive advantage. We believe brands can reach the right audiences with all of the right data privacy practices in place,” said Lam.

In June 2022, PubMatic has announced that all of its global data centres are now powered by fully renewable energy. The company achieved this significant milestone as it embarks on a comprehensive, multi-pronged sustainability plan by the end of 2022.

Marketing Featured East Asia

SHISEIDO marks 150th anniversary with ‘From life comes Beauty’ campaign

Japan — Cosmetics company SHISEIDO celebrated its 150th anniversary with the launch of the ‘From life comes beauty’ campaign that started on June 1. The campaign conveyed to the world SHISEIDO’s enduring focus on life as the essence of beauty and its ongoing pursuit of uncovering the mechanisms that connect beauty and life.

No matter how much times change, people continue to seek beauty. Based on this conviction, SHISEIDO has been pursuing the essence of beauty for 150 years, driven by its mission to create products that add a healthy vibrance to your life.

Ryota Yukisada, chief brand officer of SHISEIDO, said, “In today’s era of uncertainty and hesitation, what kind of beauty are we seeking? Our conclusion? Life. If people around the world, regardless of age, gender, and region, continue the conversation about how beauty and life are related, we believe it will inspire changes for a better world.”

The campaign conveyed the enduring spirit of SHISEIDO, which has been handed down in an unbroken line for 150 years, and its hope for the future, embodied in the phrase “From life comes beauty.” Additionally, SHISEIDO launched three limited-edition products to mark its 150th anniversary, the fruits of its unique Life Science research conducted in its ongoing pursuit of the relationship between beauty and life.

The three limited-edition products individually symbolize ‘Heritage,’ ‘Living Innovation,’ and ‘Future’ to signify the company’s past, present, and future. Their designs use an arabesque motif featured on wrapping paper created in the Taisho era of Japan by Sue Yabe, a member of the design department at that time. Using 3D software, that original design was turned into a three-dimensional form, then photographed from a variety of angles and used to decorate the containers and outer cartons. The designs express the dynamism of life that opens up a new future while harnessing the assets of the past bearing 150 years of history.

A special website was also created consisting of three content themes: ‘STORIES’ in which seven people active in various fields talked about beauty; ‘INNOVATION,’ which introduced the spirit of scientific inquiry into life as the essence of beauty; and ‘HISTORY,’ which presented SHISEIDO’s 150-year history. The website conveyed how the brand has continued since its foundation to pursue the link between beauty and life.

In addition, advertisements were rolled out featuring professional soccer player Megan Rapinoe, singer-songwriter Hikaru Utada, and actress Ursula Corbero, and campaign messages were posted on social media from celebrities with connections to SHISEIDO.

Platforms Featured East Asia

Pinterest launches ads feature, expands Shopify partnership in Japan

Japan — Pinterest is launching ads for all businesses in Japan. Businesses of all sizes now have access to multiple types of ad formats and targeting options in Japan to reach new audiences with meaningful, useful content as they discover ideas and plan new projects. Japan is the next country to launch as part of the global expansion of Pinterest’s ad program. Alongside this, Pinterest is also expanding its partnership with e-commerce company Shopify.

On Pinterest, brands are additive to the avid users of Pinterest’s or ‘Pinner’s’ experience. Because of Pinterest’s dynamics for product discoverability, advertisers are keen on the platform’s potential. With Pinterest, ads can inspire the decisions of consumers because commercial content enhances the Pinterest user’s experience. People come to Pinterest looking for products and services to plan their futures and build their lives.

Because 97% of the top searches on Pinterest are unbranded and consist of 2-3 word queries, the majority of consumers are not typing a brand name into their searches, which is why Pinterest is such an effective place to reach people while they’re still considering their next purchase and haven’t decided on a brand. Pinterest is one of the platforms where it is possible for brands to engage with new customers who are intentional, open and making buying decisions.

The platform recently opened ads to a small group of Japanese businesses as early partners. Brands such as BAYCREW’S and Cowcamo have already seen success using Pinterest Ads to tap into an audience on Pinterest that is looking for what to try or buy next.

Kei Narita, country manager for Japan at Pinterest, said, “Pinterest stands out as a positive environment where consumers come to find inspiration for what to do or buy next. We give businesses of all sizes an opportunity to connect with consumers early in their decision-making journey and we’re proud to expand our global advertising program to Japan. Our advertisers play an incredible role in enabling Pinterest users to turn inspiration into action so they can create a life they love, and we’re excited to enable Japanese businesses to now connect with our engaged audience through ads.”

Pinterest is also launching new features for businesses in Japan to reach people who want to go from finding ideas to making purchases.

Via the launch, businesses in Japan can upload their full catalogue to Pinterest and automatically turn their products into shoppable Product Pins. Enriched with metadata and formatted to let people on Pinterest know that they’re shoppable, Product Pins feature the most up-to-date price, availability and product title and description from your website. By uploading their catalogue of products to Pinterest, businesses can link directly to the product page on their site so Pinners can buy one of their products in just a few clicks. Product Pins are more discoverable in places like Home Feed, search, recommendations like Related Pins, and Lens camera search results.

Pinterest is expanding its partnership with Shopify to Japan. Now, Shopify merchants in Japan have an easy way to bring their products to Pinterest and turn them into shoppable Product Pins that are discoverable across the platform.

The Pinterest channel on Shopify provides frictionless access to Pinterest shopping features including tag deployment, catalogue ingestion, and advertising buying interface, without the need to edit code or deploy resources on their own site.

Small-to-medium-sized businesses with shops on Shopify will have easy set-up and access to distribution across Pinterest either organically or through ads, as well as reporting and results to maximize reach. Thanks to this integration, SMBs will save time to set up shop on Pinterest and will be able to showcase their products to a global monthly audience of more than 400 million people, many of whom come with the intent to shop and discover new products.

Makoto Tahara, country director and head of Japan at Shopify, shared, “By expanding our global partnership with Pinterest, Japanese merchants can now access the Pinterest channel to create targeted, audience-building campaigns all without leaving Shopify. This is particularly important for Japan’s small and medium-sized merchants to help them thrive by creating new opportunities for discoverability among Pinterest’s 400M+ users around the world.”

With the launch of ads in Japan, Pinterest is continuing the global momentum of its advertising program.

Marketing Featured APAC

Nicholas Kontopoulos joins Twilio as VP of marketing for APAC & Japan

Singapore — Twilio, the customer engagement platform that drives real-time, personalised experiences for brands, has announced that Nicholas Kontopoulos has joined the company as vice president of marketing for Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ).

Kontopoulos was most recently at Adobe, where he led marketing go-to-customer efforts for the Asia Pacific region as regional head of growth marketing of Adobe DX. A veteran technology evangelist with decades of experience, Kontopoulos has also held senior roles at Magneto, SAP and Capita, overseeing various business functions across different markets.

Based in Singapore, Kontopoulos will oversee the marketing strategy to support business growth in the APJ region and cement Twilio’s position as a leader in cloud communications. He will report to Tricia Miller, VP of international marketing for Twilio, and work closely with Lee Hawksley, SVP and GM for Twilio APJ, to meet Twilio’s pipeline generation and business revenue goals for the region.

On the new vice president, Hawksley shared, “Kontopoulos is an exceptionally creative marketer with a proven track record. He brings with him not only valuable cross-industry knowledge but an unmatched passion for customer experience. I am excited about what he brings to the table and know he will be an invaluable addition to our team in the region.”

Meanwhile, Kontopoulos said that he is thrilled to join Twilio’s high performing marketing team to drive the future of customer engagement together during this period of rapid growth.

Kontopoulos adds, “I have always been a firm believer of customer experience as a core business ideology, and I look forward to empowering more businesses in the region with innovative ways to connect and interact with their customers.’’

Marketing Featured East Asia

Akira Suzuki named as CEO of Wunderman Thompson Tokyo

Japan – Wunderman Thompson Tokyo has appointed Akira Suzuki as its new chief executive officer. Suzuki joined the agency from TikTok For Business Japan where he was director and head of Global Business Marketing.

Suzuki is one of the youngest CEOs of the company in APAC, and Wunderman Thompson believes that with his background in technology and advertising, he is well-positioned to integrate the company’s strength in creativity and digital capabilities to redefine the agency’s offering.

As a part of TikTok For Business Japan’s leadership team, Suzuki was in charge of shaping the future of the business through the intersection of business, creativity, and engineering. Facilitating growth through people-focused strategies, Suzuki built a diverse team across functions and launched multiple fast-growing business units, including Creative Labs, the Marketing Strategy team, and the B2B Marketing Communications team in Japan.

Before TikTok, Suzuki had both creative and strategic positions in Dentsu Japan, starting as a Strategic Planner in 2007, before eventually joining the leadership team as Creative Director and leading a team of 20 creatives in 2016. Suzuki’s vast experience covers many industries such as automobile, FMCGs, consumer tech and more. 

Ewen Sturgeon, International CEO of Wunderman Thompson, said that with the evolving nature of the industry in Japan, Wunderman Thompson will greatly benefit from a leader who is unafraid to explore the intersections of our capabilities, and who seeks out opportunities for growth for our clients.

“I am delighted to welcome Akira to Wunderman Thompson, to lead our Japan office. Akira is a new age creative technologist, strategist and business leader,” said Sturgeon. 

Suzuki commented, “In addition to its traditional agency functions, Wunderman Thompson Tokyo’s strength lies in its digital capabilities, particularly in the CX, Data, Tech, and EC domains. By leveraging these strengths, we will redefine Wunderman Thompson as the best Growth Partner for solving business challenges and leading business transformation for brands in Japan and beyond.”

Suzuki said that today, digital means that everything is measurable, which means transparency of results and accountability for the work delivered to clients.

“It is no longer acceptable to take a one-step-back approach to client work. Instead, we seek to be a partner, more proactively involved in the conception, implementation, and validation of their business and commit to increasing sales, profits, and corporate value as the common goal of both parties. We look forward to becoming the Growth Partner for our clients striving for ambitious growth,” he added.

Across the region, Wunderman Thompson has also recently unveiled new leaders within the year. The China division has announced Joyce Ling as its chief transformation and strategy officer, while in the Philippines, Joe Dy returns as CCO.

Marketing Featured East Asia

Kyoko Matsushita appointed as CEO of WPP in Japan

Tokyo, Japan – Global creative transformation company WPP has appointed Kyoko Matsushita as its new chief executive officer in Japan. Through her new role, Matsushita will be responsible for WPP’s business in Japan, strengthening its collective capabilities and bringing together people and resources on behalf of clients.

She was recently the chief executive officer for Essence Global, WPP’s global data and measurement-driven full-service media agency, with 23 offices in 12 countries. She joined Essence in 2014 as the first CEO of the APAC region. Before being named Essence Global’s CEO, Kyoko served as the agency’s first global chief client officer, leading the client services practice, client satisfaction, and organic and new business growth.

Speaking about her appointment, she said, “It’s the opportunity of a lifetime to serve as WPP’s CEO in a country with so much growth potential for us and the industry. Japan is close to my heart, and the chance to lead the WPP business in a market with tremendous opportunity for us is a real honour.”

Meanwhile, Mark Read, CEO at WPP, said: “Kyoko’s experience and work at the leading edge of technology and her appreciation for building a strong culture make her the perfect leader for our WPP business in Japan. She is highly respected across our industry, and her return to the Asia Pacific region follows a period of great success as CEO of Essence. I have no doubt she will unlock new opportunities for our people and clients in the world’s third-largest economy.”

This appointment will see Matsushita’s return to Asia, based in Tokyo, after a transition period as the merged EssenceMediacom business prepares for its launch.

Platforms Featured East Asia

Amazon Japan taps payments platform Adyen for checkout optimisation

Tokyo, Japan Adyen, the global financial platform has announced its processing payments for Amazon Japan. Through Adyen’s platform, Amazon Japan will further optimise the payment data and checkout experience for its customers.

Because of Japan’s digital economy’s rapid expansion over the last two years. With Adyen’s direct acquiring and data-rich insights enable Amazon Japan to provide a more seamless flow for its customers, whether they’re shopping from Japan or overseas.

Jonathan Epstein, country manager of Japan at Adyen, shared, “Tapping into Adyen’s platform allows Amazon Japan to offer richer customer experiences with our payment optimization tools and data insights.”

Henri Tsuruta, head of finance for consumer payments at Amazon Japan, commented, “”We strive to provide our customers with the best shopping experience, and Adyen’s global payments expertise is a great match for Amazon’s customer-centric philosophy.”

Platforms Featured East Asia

Rakuten, Uber Eats roll out new payment service integration

Tokyo, Japan – E-commerce company Rakuten and food ordering company Uber Eats have recently teamed up to roll out a new payment service integration where Rakuten Pay’s online payment service will be integrated into Uber Eat’s online system.

Rakuten Pay will be available as an official payment method when ordering food and groceries on Uber Eats for all users by late April.

In addition, this new integration will allow Rakuten customers to effortlessly sign up for an Uber Eats account using their Rakuten ID. They will also be able to earn and spend Rakuten Points — Rakuten’s flagship loyalty program — when ordering food and groceries on the Uber Eats app.

Ryo Matsumura, senior executive officer at Rakuten Group and vice president at Rakuten’s Commerce Company, said, “We are extremely pleased to launch this Uber Eats and Rakuten Pay collaboration with our partners. Consumer demand for quick commerce is growing rapidly. We are confident that this collaboration will contribute greater convenience to the service and improve the user experience, and we are very much looking forward to delivering new value to customers.”

Meanwhile, Yukiko Muto, president at Uber Eats Japan, commented, “It is an honour to be partnering with Rakuten, one of Japan’s largest and most trusted internet companies. We extend a warm welcome to the more than 100 million Rakuten members in Japan, and can’t wait to bring them the benefits of food and grocery delivery within 30 minutes. This is a huge step in Uber Eats’ journey in Japan, and I look forward to more exciting ventures with Rakuten in the future.”

To celebrate this collaboration, Uber Eats and Rakuten will launch a special promotion starting 27 April for both first-time Uber Eats users and all current Uber Eats users as well.