Kazoo Sato

CCO, TBWA\Hakuhodo Group, Japan.

How has the pandemic impacted TBWA HAKUHODO?  

As maybe all creative industries might have felt, the Spring of 2020 was quite a challenging and difficult time - with the abrupt changes we were going through with no end in sight. However, human beings are amazing in that they gradually learn to adapt to the environment. TBWA\HAKUHODO was one of the quickest agencies in Japan to switch to work-from-home mode and make the new tools and distance as new-normal. Pitches, meetings and shootings were done remotely and still were able to produce disruptive works to the world. From this, I guess you could say that TBWA\HAKUHODO is now “back to normal", except the normal is now completely new and different from the pre-pandemic.​

How has advertising changed since 2020? 

I feel that the points of appeal the companies are delivering have changed, mainly due to the pandemic and the natural disasters caused by climate change. There has been an increase in the number of messages that emphasize the purpose and mission of the companies or how they can contribute in changing people’s lifestyles in a more ethical way. And I believe this will accelerate in the future.

“ I believe, 'how they(brands) can become part of the culture' should be the basis of all marketing.”- Kazoo Sato gives marketing insights

What are the changes you had to go through professionally?

I think what COVID-19 has brought to the creative process is efficiency through discussions or directions for shoots done remotely. On the other hand, I'm concerned that it has made it harder for unexpected and unplanned serendipities to happen, such as proactive ideas sparked from standing around talking in the office. I think with only efficiency it is hard to create breakthroughs - which is why TBWA\HAKUHODO has been searching and trying out new ways to encourage the members to be engaged in casual and cross-agency communications even remotely.​

With advertising and marketing taking roots online, is it restricting innovation?

I think that online advertising and marketing is the most effective conduit for direct purchase. And I believe making advertising activities more “visible” is good for the investment efficiency of companies as well. However, it also has to be said that currently for many consumers and online users, online advertising is merely a distraction. But actually if you think about it, it was the case during the offline advertising era as well. So I believe that good creative ideas and new advertising innovations, to impress consumers and make them into fans of the company will remain important no matter where the advertising locates.​

What do you think could help brands engage more with consumers?

As a culture engine, We TBWA claim to locate and involve brands in culture, giving them a larger share of the future. I believe that brands should make “how they can become part of the culture” the basis of all their marketing.