Jun Anazawa

Account Planning Manager, Cosmo Communications
31 October 2007
Mr. Jun Anazawa is an account planning manager at Japan
youth, luxury, New Rich, CanCam
Mr. Jun Anazawa is an account planning manager at Japan’s leading fashion-focused advertising agency, Cosmo Communications. We sat down with Mr. Anazawa to discuss the advertising needs of apparel companies in Japan and the recent trends in the print media business.

Where does Cosmo Communications sit in the Japanese advertising agency world?

We have about 100 clients, which makes us a medium size company. What is unique, however, is that 70% of our clients are in the fashion business. We also do work for non-fashoin companies — for example, a leading coffee retailer — but do not do their normal advertising. We have a fee-based contract for public relations and also do some of their materials.

Fashion companies in Japan mostly rely on print media — magazines, train station posters, catalogs. So most of our work is creative related to print media.

We have a lot of customers that we’ve had for over 20 years. Last year was our 40th anniversary.

Is media buying a big part of your business?

Yes. We also get monthly fees from PR. For example, a company will have a new product, so we will be hired to send press releases to lots of magazines, trying to get exposure on “free pages” (pages that are not advertorial or advertising but decided by editors).

We get introductions to clients from publishers. A normal PR company in Japan will charge a certain amount per person attached, but have a different model since we originally did PR as a free service in our advertising work.

How are Japanese ad agencies different than Western ad agencies?

Overseas ad firms usually charge their clients a fee. They receive money directly from their clients. In Japan, we sit between media and clients, and after lots of negotiation, we set prices to buy media. After that has been decided, we receive money from the media — not the client. The more work we do for clients, the more we can say to the publishers: this year we did more business for you so please increase our commission next year.

Do the biggest two advertising agencies Dentsu and Hakuhodo not have many fashion clients?

No, they do have some, but they mostly do larger international brands. Those global companies tend to buy a lot of media over a year, and bigger advertising agencies are able to give them a better price on the bulk buy.

How do you manage to do so many clients who are essentially competitors?

Our sales division is made up of “account planning teams.” We have 13. They each have different clients. The team that does one large apparel company, for example, will not do its main competitors. So the staff and media for each of these teams are different. But we are a company of about 100 people, so if a company wants an image change and likes what we are doing for other clients, we can put a new team together for them.

Ad agencies in the West generally do not handle more than one client in a certain field. Does this make a big difference in how your company brings in new clients?

A good example of how this works is, Cosmo will work with Company A. Let’s say a “Mr. Tanaka” works there. But if he moves to Company B, often times he will have his new company use us as well. Overseas, this would probably mean that we’d stop working with the guys in Company A, but in Japan, we keep working with them. So personnel changes at our clients cause the total number of clients to increase.

Cosmo Communications used to do an iconic brand called Van. They ended up going bankrupt twice, but the first time they went under, the whole staff went to other apparel companies. Those employees still wanted to work with us at their new companies. So that was a big start for us expanding into the apparel industry.

Even now, we still get clients in this manner. In that earlier example, Mr. Tanaka’s replacement will come in, and sometimes he’ll say, “Let’s do Dentsu and not Cosmo,” but the cases where we completely lose the client are actually pretty rare. Overseas, I get the sense that when new marketing managers come in, they will change all the companies used, but that generally doesn’t happen so quickly in Japan.
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