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Dentsu Inc. creative leader Okamura takes top job at Dentsu Vietnam

ASIA PACIFIC – Masako Okamura, a veteran creative director from Dentsu Inc. in Tokyo, has been appointed as Executive Creative Director of Dentsu Vietnam, Dentsu Aegis Network/Southeast Asia announced in a press release.

As Dentsu’s first female creative director, Masako has been with Dentsu for nearly 20 years and will pick up the baton at Dentsu Vietnam effective March 3.
Masako has several accolades under her belt, with work for clients such as Toyota, Suntory, Shiseido and Shizuoka Broadcasting, having won awards at shows like Cannes, Clio, Spikes Asia, London International Awards and AdFest. She has also been a part of the juries for Clio, YoungGuns International Advertising Awards, AdFest, Cannes, Spikes Asia, One Show, and Art Directors Club. Masako was also named amongst Media Magazine’s (now Campaign Asia-Pacific) Top 10 creative directors in Asia in 2007.
“I’m thrilled that Masako has decided to join our team in Southeast Asia by taking the creative lead here in Vietnam, where the team has recently done a fantastic job securing clients like Yamaha and LEXUS,” said Gaku Shinoda, CEO, Dentsu Vietnam. “With Masako’s vision, her wealth of experience, and her entrepreneurial spark, Dentsu Vietnam is well on its way to being one of the top five agencies in Vietnam.”
Over the last year, Dentsu Aegis Network/Southeast Asia has built some serious creative muscle. In June 2013 the company appointed Ted Lim as Chief Creative Officer, followed by the appointment of Ng Heok Seong (Executive Creative Director, Dentsu Singapore), Andy Soong Kok Leong (Executive Creative Director, Dentsu Alpha, Vietnam), Joey Ong (Executive Creative Director, Aspac, Philippines), and Chow Kok Keong (Creative Director, Dentsu Utama, Malaysia). 
Most recently in January 2014, Dentsu Philippines brought the country’s top creative pair, Gary Amante and Rey Tiempo, on board to head creative operations in the country.
Commenting on the appointment, Dick van Motman, Chairman and CEO, Dentsu Aegis Network/Southeast Asia said, “In order to deliver on Dentsu’s proposition ‘moving business by moving people’, we need to have a relentless focus on creativity in every aspect. With her impressive track record, we feel very comfortable that Masako will deliver exactly that for Dentsu Vietnam. Her appointment is yet another step in our regional wide focus to keep raising the talent bar continuously. Ted Lim has been amassing a great team and I feel they’re ready to play.”

adobo asked Masako Okamura a few questions about her new role:

What are you looking forward to in your new position?


It’s a great honour for me to lead new team. I am really looking forward to working with young energetic, diligent and craftsmanship creative. Creative chaos is a trigger for cutting edge ideas and the Vietnamese market tempts me with its uniqueness.  I’ve been to Vietnam several times as a tourist several times and I love their local beer brand, 333.             
In an interview on, you said you were not sure about working overseas. What convinced you to take the position in Vietnam?

I was very shy when I received an interview with in 2009.  Never have I imagined that a Japanese creative could create success outside of Japan, where monolithic culture predominates people’s working style. And I was accustomed to it.  But Rei Inamoto of AKQA, a shining star in USA has inspired me a lot.

Last year, when I was asked to judge at the ADC Awards in Costa Rica, Ted Royer of Droga 5 shared a great piece of advice with me: ‘As long as you have some great creative work, minimum English and humour, you can work anywhere in the world you chose to’. His remarks made me seriously explore the opportunity of working overseas. Although he didn’t invite me to Droga 5 (lol). But interestingly, I also received a couple of good opportunities to work with multinational creative teams. It was not only fun, it also gave me the right level of exposure and recognition for my creative work. 

Not long after, Dentsu Vietnam approached me to join their team. The one significant thing that resonated well for me was Dick van Motman’s (Chairman and CEO, Dentsu Aegis Network/Southeast Asia) vision for the brand in this region. I am also truly moved by Gaku Shinoda’s (CEO of Dentsu Vietnam) passion and not to mention, the great honour of working with Ted Lim (Chief Creative Office, Dentsu Aegis Network/Southeast Asia). He’s someone I have enormous respect for since we juried together for AdFest 2005. It’s an exciting new chapter in my life. But I’ll always remain a ‘loyal Dentsu’. Ha!
What are some learnings from the Tokyo market that can be applied in Vietnam?

Vietnamese economic growth and vitality needs powerful Integrated Campaign that Japanese underwent a long time ago. At the same time, the average age in Vietnam is 22.7 years (FYI: in Japan it is 44.9 years)  and the young generation are “smart-phone native”.  So it is easy to penetrate the market through a digital approach – something we experienced in Japan without any time lag. Most importantly, TVC’s are still powerful here and I hope my storytelling skills will help. And with my 13 years of experience as an assistant professor in a local University will help a great deal to develop and mentor young creatives in Vietnam. 


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