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Asia’s advertising style is in the midst of change: MassiveMusic’s Hans Brouwer on opening in Japan

MassiveMusic has launched in Tokyo, Japan

Amsterdam headquartered music agency MassiveMusic has opened its first local bilingual local office in Asia, choosing to base itself in Tokyo.

The world’s third biggest advertising market seems a logical step for a regional office but MassiveMusic CEO and founder Hans Brouwer told The Drum that the timing was all about being in the right place as Asian advertising reaches a tipping point.

What’s the opportunity for the company in Asia generally?

Asia, and more specifically Japan, is in the midst of change and so is its advertising style, which has really reached a tipping point. It’s quite rare to see companies with an international mindset here – for us it is crucial to be one of them and successfully blend local global creativity while being innovative both musically and strategically. True, we’d like to become known in the market for our TVC work, but we’re also looking to partner and collaborate with innovative brands and technologically advanced agencies with great ideas by offering bespoke music, sonic branding, and musical activations.

What had you been doing in the market prior to this?

We've been present in Shanghai for a number of years but opening a new office in Tokyo is our first real foray into the Asian market with a local bilingual team working full-time. We’ve done great work here over the past few years but we wanted to have a much closer connection to Japanese brands and agencies. I have to say, it really felt like a natural step.

Why Japan first?

Well, it could be that our logo constantly reminds us of noodles and we just fell into temptation ;) With the Tokyo 2020 Olympics imminent, we are entering the Japanese market at an exciting time. After working on the campaign for the Olympic Games in 2016, we hope we can play a significant role here too. With agencies and brands becoming increasingly international, this will have an impact on the projects they work on and is something we can help with, considering our international presence and the array of different services we can offer. Additionally, we are willing to include even more variety in our work. It’s a mutual exchange – especially if you take into account local music genres such as J-pop or Vocaloid, something completely different from what we’re used to in the Western world.

Japan is sometimes described as being a hard market to crack, do you share these concerns?

What we’ve seen so far is that there are many local clients who want to collaborate with international music agencies to create world-class music for their campaigns or commercials. Their usual struggles are with language and communication. Having a native team in Tokyo allows both parties to avoid any misunderstanding. It also gives our clients easy access to our music solutions. On the other hand, Tokyo has seen a huge increase of expats living in the city over the last 2 years. It gives you a hint that recently there has been a shift towards a more international market. So, a MassiveMusic office in Tokyo? It couldn’t come at a better time.

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