This year was my first time attending Advertising Week Asia, which was held in Tokyo Midtown from the 27th to 30th of May 2019!

For those who don’t know about Adweek; it’s a gathering of marketing and communications professionals with hundreds of industry leaders from all over the world doing talks on various subjects around advertising and communications. Aside from Tokyo they have similar events in New York, London, Mexico City, Sydney and Johannesburg.

This being my second week working here in Tokyo, I was lucky enough to borrow my team mate’s pass for the event and attended the second day (28th May) and the last day (30th May) to get a little inspired. I took part in as many sessions as possible, but sit wasn’t an easy choice since there were always two or more sessions on at the same time.

I personally wanted to hear more about the global trends vs. the Japanese market, as well as anything from the publisher and agency point of view- basically anything I could take away with me to my own clients. What I did not expect was how many brands and clients actually took part in the presentations and shared their data and insight with the audience. You could really see which brands were ahead of the advertising game, as well as overall user experience in Japan.

Programmatic was another interest of mine (as it is what I do in my daily work) and thankfully there was one session on the evolution of programmatic advertising in Japan.

Programmatic session on the evolution of programmatic in Japan

Although it seems that Japan is lagging a couple of years behind Europe and America with their programmatic ecosystem, it does seem that the key players are slowly awakening to the current situation; that programmatic will be the buying method of the future (if not today).

Data, verification and brand safety are also subject close to my heart – as it is for any self-respecting marketer – and you could really see these themes being touched upon in most talks. The overall theme I sensed in all of the sessions was about data, automation and the future of advertising. Many touched upon the holy grail of advertising; universal ID, as well as the need for industry-wide standardization of data, KPIs, verification etc. Obviously the market is still a couple steps away from this perfectly accountable world (maybe even a dozen steps), but as technology keeps expanding and client needs changing, so does the industry as well.

Overall the two days I attended were super inspiring and full of insight. Although there are still a ton of things I don’t understand about the digital scene here in Japan I feel like as long as I get to the heart of the Japanese consumer everything else follows along. That’s one lesson I took with me from one of the sessions on e-commerce and the consumer journey 😉

Honda Keisuke; the football legend and investor took the main stage on the last session of the week

I hope you’re interested enough to follow along me on my journey as I learn more and more about Japan and the digital environment here, since I find it very fascinating (+ it’s my job). I’ll definitely share some more thoughts as they come, but do keep in mind that these are my personal opinions and have nothing to do with my previous or current companies 🙂

In the mean time I’ll try and share some of my recent (not work-related) adventures from the last weeks since coming back to Japan, as well as some of my thoughts about my life in Tokyo.

Thank you for those who have been reading these blog posts and look forward to more!



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