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Dentsu targets ‘brands who want a voice in pop culture’

Dentsu International, the global arm of Japanese holding company Dentsu Group, came to Cannes Lions with all creative guns blazing as it launched what it says an integrated creative network of what the future should look like.

Called Dentsu Creative, this new subsidiary will effectively merge Dentsu’s different creative units, including dentsuMB, 360i and Isobar, to produce a unified single creative division.

This new enlarged unit will inject clients’ creativity needs into all parts of the marketing-and-advertising chain, including media, technology, data analytics, customer experience

Close up of Wendy Clark speaking on stage
Dentsu global CEO Wendy Clark

management (CMX) and entertainment.

“This is a world first,” said Wendy Clark, Dentsu’s global CEO, on a panel called Designing a Global Creative Network for 2022 and Beyond.

Clark, who hit the headlines in 2020 when she left her job as president/CEO at DDB Worldwide for her current position, was joined on the Cannes Lions stage by Fred Levron, Dentsu’s global chief creative officer, whom she had poached from FCB.

Clark reminded the audience that Dentsu’s Japanese owners went on a massive spending spree in the 2010s, including the US$4.9bn spent on the media giant Aegis Group.

Dentsu recently conducted a survey with 500 CMOs, 75% of whom said the siloed way creative agencies were currently set up was not fit for purpose.

In response, Clark said, Dentsu wanted to make a difference. “We want to be the most integrated creative network in the world.”

Levron explained the vision behind Dentsu Creative: “We asked ourselves, ‘If you had to create a brand new creative network in 2022, what would it look like, having in mind how the world works today and for years to come?’ I want creativity to be the biggest asset that we have.”

Close up of Fred Levron speaking on stage
Dentsu Gloal Fred Levron

Levron became responsible for turning that ambition into a reality. “The way we see creative is different compared to everywhere else.” What would distinguish Dentsu from rival holding companies like the UK’s WPP, Omnicom and IPG in the US and France’s Group Publicis, he continued, would be its Japanese heritage. “And the fact that we understand the media landscape more than anyone else,” he added.

Additionally, he and Clark said that brands should be able to rely on entertainment, as well as advertising, for their marketing messages.

“We want to be the leader for brands who want a voice in pop culture,” Levron said. “It is time for brands to create IP, to move from TV ads to TV shows. We will be known for creating content.”


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