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Taking on the big league: IdeasXMachina now A Member Of Hakuhodo

After months of talks, IdeasXMachina Advertising, Inc. (IXM) has finally announced its partnership with Hakuhodo Inc., Japan’s second largest advertising conglomerate and the sixth largest advertising network in the world. The official name of the company is now IDEASXMACHINA (IXM), A Member of Hakuhodo.

It is the Hakuhodo Group’s first entry into the country. “The Philippines is one of the most growing countries all over the world. Hakuhodo aims to become the leading agency in Asia. We also found it a big business opportunity that more and more Japanese clients are expected to expand their business in Philippines,” said Tatsuro Oosuga, Business Planning Director of Hakuhodo International.

“The success of IXM obviously, historically, has always been because we’re different from all other agencies. They see something in us that probably no one else can give. It’s not that we’re small and nimble and fast. It’s not that we’re affordable because to be frank, all agency fees are pretty standard. It’s not that we’re young, which always gives us an inside track on the millennial consumer and as a young group we have the boundless energy to churn out work day in and day out and take the success of our clients personally. 


The true reason is that we are idiots. We are unafraid to ask stupid questions and try out new things that turn out to be mistakes, sometimes. We are honest enough to show our lack of intelligence and common sense, that is why we brutally test our recommendations and collaborate with Marketing intensely. We come to a meeting with no pretense of eminence or expertise, but with evidence. We are honest, like a good child is honest, always wanting to prove and to please. With my eight years running IXM, I have found that that’s what this great new generation of clients look for in an Agency. Contrary to what’s fashionable to think these days—that clients look at Agencies as suppliers and not as partners, hence the shrinking budgets—Clients, actually, just like us, are just looking for that name-making idea that they’re willing to spend on,” Domingo stressed.

Founded in 2009, IXM is an up-and-coming independent advertising agency with strengths in above-the-line and digital campaigns. It is led by Founder and CEO Third Domingo, himself already an award-winning copywriter and creative director before he established the agency. IXM holds at its core a philosophy of “Creative Engineering” that sees advertising as both art and well-researched science.

With just under 10 years of existence in the industry, IXM has already won two gold “Thought Leader” trophies at the Responsible Business Awards Asia 2017: Best in Class Social Responsibility Practice and Responsible Business Leader of the Year for CEO Third Domingo. The agency also prides itself on developing young talents in the industry, with Accounts Director Kate Alconga being named as one of Campaign’s “Women to Watch” 2017, while Digital Director Share Goce was hailed as a Campaign Asia “40 Under 40” Awardee in 2017. Recently, Research and Strategy Director Jedd Ilagan was named Campaign Southeast Asia Young Achiever of the Year 2016, while Creative Director Jasper Ilagan won the Campaign Southeast Asia Young Achiever of the Year in 2017. Meanwhile, Third Domingo was named as one of the Entrepreneurs of the Year at the Asia CEO Awards 2017. IXM has also won the Campaign Southeast Asia Independent Agency of the Year three years in a row and currently holds the New Business Development Team of the Year title.

To further bolster its senior management team, IXM has hired Lawin Bulatao as Chief Creative Officer, Jeff Espiritu as Director for Finance and Corporate Strategy, and Ly Sepe as SSD Director – HR/Office Management.

IXM’s achievements were a crucial factor in Hakuhodo’s decision to acquire shares in the agency. “We noticed that IXM gained the agency of the year in Philippines constantly. During the selection process, we succeeded in acquiring Toyota account together, which convinced us that our partnership would bring a lot of synergy in the future,” revealed Oosuga.

On the part of IXM, Domingo cited Hakuhodo’s focus and expertise on consumer research and insighting as a good fit for IXM’s “Creative Engineering” philosophy. “The most important influence Hakuhodo will be able to provide is knowledge of the consumer. The reason why (Hakuhodo’s) creatives are strong is because they research heavily into the consumer,” he said. “The creative philosophy of IXM is creative engineering,” Domingo continued. “Creative doesn’t need to be only creative and effective. It has to be efficient in terms of the cost, in terms of the time that we spend, in terms of the resources. Everything to me can be done in a manner that maximizes all of these things. That is almost like a perfect fit for Hakuhodo’s putting a lot of importance to science, to the science and the art of advertising,” he stressed.

“We perceive people not as ‘consumers’ who just consume a product or service but as ‘Sei-katsu-sha’ who have their own values and lifestyles. We’ve been advocating Sei-katsu-sha centric planning’ since 1981, which is our philosophy that we always develop a plan based on the view of Sei-katsu-sha,” added Oosuga.

Domingo also cited Hakuhodo’s willingness and sincerity to let IXM operate as it deems best for the business. “They are very respectful of the process that has been working for us,” he said. “One of the things they were very emphatic about is that we don’t need to change the name of IXM,” Domingo revealed. This is symbolic of the trust that Hakuhodo has in letting IXM run its own operations according to Domingo.

“We sincerely respect IXM’s achievement so far. Third will be in charge of IXM business operation as he did so far,” agreed Oosuga.

With the partnership in place, one of the ways to grow for IdeasXMachina: A Member of Hakuhodo, will be the creation of new specialised business units and “strategically-allianced” branded services that can operate separately and independently, thereby providing the client exactly what they need, reinforced by various expertise in the Integrated Marketing Communications mix.

The vision still remains for IdeasXMachina, now A Member Of Hakuhodo – to be the leading agency group in the Asia Pacific region, just as how Domingo envisioned it when he founded IXM.

Partner with adobo Magazine

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