Advertising with the Japanese Zen
If you know an excellent sushi you must know this network.
If you know Toyota, Sony, Honda and other top Japanese brands, you must know Dentsu.
Not many people know this Japanese ad conglomerate is one of the world’s largest. So big, in fact, it can give the big guns, McCann, J. Walter Thompson, BBDO, Leo Burnett, Saatchi & Saatchi, Ogilvy and the rest a run for their money.
Just a little bit of introduction:
Dentsu is the fifth-biggest advertising agency network in the world, a 110-year-old iconic brand in Japan counting Toyota, Nintendo, Panasonic, Ajinomoto, among others as one of its 6,000 global clients.
For two consecutive years, (2011 and 2012) Dentsu was named Agency of the Year in Cannes of Asia, Asia Adfest, where Philippine ad agencies consistently send entries.
After 50 years of trying, Dentsu is making waves in the US. Under Tim Andree, Dentsu McGarry Bowen was recently named Ad Age’s Agency of the Year twice in three years.
The agency is on globalization frenzy and has started creating an advertising empire, stretching across the world’s five continents: the Americas, Europe, Asia, Oceania, all the way to North Africa with over 100 offices scattered all over.
As the industry focuses on the big boys, Dentsu is building a new organization—the “Dentsu Network” to hasten its spread across the globe.
Today, Dentsu has established an enviable reputation—one of the most innovative communication companies with a staff of 20,000 worldwide and is recognized as the world’s biggest sports marketing company.
Need to breakdown constraints to find the best solutions for your clients’ marketing problems?
Tired of solutions that didn’t work? Following the “Dentsu Way” might give you the upper hand.
From product development to product launch, Dentsu practices “yuzu mage,” meaning flexibility and freedom.
The everyday practice is a corporate culture at Dentsu, the cornerstone of its uniqueness as an agency, all contained in a book called “The Dentsu Way,” published by the company.
“We have a guiding principle in managing our business that’s been good to us over the last 10 years in the Philippines,” says Nonna Nanagas, the bubbly president and CEO of Dentsu Philippines, in her posh address in The Enterprise Ayala.
An industry veteran, Nanagas earned her brilliant stars and stripes from many years of experience handling a number of local and multinational brands.
She is proud of her agency that’s been running against American and British-owned networks with aplomb.
“We are a low-key ad agency but at the end of the day, it’s about the agency and the brand,” she says.
Well-said. In these difficult times, Dentsu flies high with a solid report card handling 80 percent of Toyota’s advertising business in the Philippines, aside from consistently making double-digit growth and a good measure of non-Japanese accounts.
What makes “The Dentsu Way” a bright path to take? These teachings bring them great results:
1.) Initiate projects on your own instead of waiting for work to be assigned.
2.) Take an active role in all your endeavors, not a passive one.
3.) Search for large and complex challenges.
4.) Welcome difficult assignments. Progress lies in accomplishing difficult work.
5.) Once you begin a task, complete it. Never give up.
6.) Lead and set an example for your fellow workers.
7.) Set goals to ensure a constant sense of purpose.
8.) Move with confidence, it gives your work force and substance.
9.) At all times, challenge yourself to think creatively and find new solutions.
10.) When confrontation is necessary, don’t shy away from it. Confrontation is often necessary to achieve progress.
Nanagas started as copywriter at the formerly dominant AMA (Advertising and Marketing Associates) after becoming a sterling PANA (Philippine Association of National Advertisers) scholar.
She was mentored by Philippine advertising greats: the late Antonio de Joya, Greg Macabenta, Louie Morales, Tony Gloria and Nita Claravall, becoming what she is now: creative and operations—savvy.
Hard work is a class act for Nanagas who also speaks it. That perhaps explains her longevity in the industry.
“I learned the discipline of hard work from my mentors,” she mentions in a low-key voice but bursts into a hearty laughter in between the interview seeing how the industry continuously evolves.
Nanagas is a mentoring president in and out of Dentsu, with an innate desire to give something back. You may find her in Ateneo teaching on a weekend if her Dentsu schedules allow her.
She never forgets to tell her students and staff: “In this business, everything must be anchored on consumer insight. Creators of advertising must see how consumers behave, probe on their attitudes, and everything around them to be able to do effective advertising.”
She stresses that advertising isn’t one’s “kathang isip” (imagined things) and that agencies should make an impactful difference on their clients’ bottom lines to become real partners.
And how is Nanagas as a Dentsu leader?
“She is a people-oriented person and you can easily feel it the moment you’re introduced. Even in the 4As [Association of Accredited Advertising Agencies of the Philippines] where she was president, Nanagas is always candid and pleasantly approachable to many,” confides an industry colleague.
Beyond the pleasantness, she is a businesswoman with depth and whose focus is only on Dentsu and not on which agency is doing what.
She has eyes only for delivering income to the agency, empowering, giving opportunities and growth for others. “You cannot perpetuate yourself,” she says.
In the Philippines, Dentsu is a dynamic advertising agency with a 45-man staff, providing value-added service to clients.
“We provide service the Dentsu way but we are not subservient,” she says.
Last June, the Dentsu network won Cannes’ most prestigious Lion, the Titanium and 4 Gold Lions. It also bagged Cannes’ Media Agency of the Year in 2009 and Asia Adfest Interactive Agency of the Year for two consecutive years (2009 and 2010).
For the first time also in the history of the Campaign Brief Asia Creative Rankings, a Japanese agency landed at the top in the 2009—Dentsu Tokyo became the most awarded agency in Asia, and Campaign Brief Asia’s Regional Agency of the Year.
With thousands of clients all over the world going “The Dentsu Way,” wouldn’t you also follow the line?