Ananya Saha
Sep 18, 2013

Spikes 2013: ‘Advertising skills can do more in other fields; we should exploit that’

Morihoko Hasebe, ECD, Hakuhodo, and Kentaro Kimura, co-CEO and ECD, Hakuhodo Kettle, revealed scope for agencies beyond the tried and tested

Spikes 2013: ‘Advertising skills can do more in other fields; we should exploit that’

Why does Hakuhodo employ close to 3,000 people at its Japan office? Morihoko Hasebe, ECD, Hakuhodo, explained that the agency does a lot of work outside of advertising ‘for future growth’. He underlined that ad agencies need to grow beyond their professional realms of strategy, creative, PR, media, events and digital, alongside Kentaro Kimura, co-CEO, ECD, Hakuhodo Kettle.

According to the duo, there are three new potential growth areas for ad agencies.

Redesign the conventional

Hakuhodo Design created a hospital named Hito. The agency was not only involved in designing the name and logo, but also the uniform, signage, promotional material and the hospital as well.

The agency also conceived the concept of ‘Frozen beer garden’, with an emphasis on photogenic architecture so that when people take pictures and upload it on social media, the photo becomes a promotional material by itself.

The brand design division of Hakuhodo also created a hotel for business travellers, called Remm. The agency re-designed interiors of the hotel, the showers and fundamentally included (and excluded) everything that a business traveller would want from a hotel.

Hasebe noted that the agency was also involved in redesigning the class curriculum of the Tokyo University. "The curriculum included the students working with real clients: so clients got a new rush of ideas and students got real exposure and experience," said Hasebe, who also highlighted how the agency has been earning profits from commission on school uniforms it designed for a school. For the same school, the agency also handled the branding, logo, bags etc.

"Advertising skills can do more in other fields, and we should exploit that," said Hasebe.

‘Books and Beer’

Hakhodo Kettle started its content division that creates movie content, publishes magazines and manages news websites. "We also started our book store called B&B, which stands for Books and Beer. The reason we have beer in our book store is that people buy more books after having beer," quipped Kimura. On whether the outfit makes money, he said, "We get about 20 per cent of our revenues from these businesses. Besides, we charge for people when they walk in to our store for 'Talk Nights'. It is a everyday feature in our store. And mostly, the book that is talked about gets sold out."

Apart from this, Kettle is also introduced 'Data Stadium', which captures live recording of athletes and provides technological data to the teams who can then tweak their strategy. "Now is the time for agencies to build their businesses. Some businesses are profitable and some are not. You can also get investment, of course. But the key to success is do what you desire," articulated Kimura.

Pioneer a new industry

Hakuhodo launched 6 Inc this year which launched the Space Tanzaku campaign in association with Jaxa. The aim of the campaign was to help the children wish upon a star (standing for hope) in the aftermath of the earthquake.

The agency also has a business incubation centre. "We offer tourism with partners. The recent one is 'Dining out', which can be afforded only by the elite class," said Hasebe. He cited the case of a ‘soil restaurant’ where all the dishes are made of mud. “We tried the un-done," he said.

"While the core business will remain same, there is potential around. Do what you desire and try something that has not been done before. Marketing design is advertising agencies' new potential," summarised the duo.

Campaign India

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