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Each year, the Agency of the Year (AOY) Awards recognizes outstanding business performance in the advertising and communications industries. Given out by marketing and communications journal Campaign Asia, the awards are split into five regional competitions:

  • Australia and New Zealand
  • Greater China
  • Japan and South Korea
  • South Asia
  • Southeast Asia

Honors are also given to networks, and the AOY Awards is the only program that honors agency excellence at both the local and regional levels.

In 2018, the AOY Awards celebrated its 25th anniversary and expanded to the United Kingdom as well as the rest of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). The UK agency of the year will be revealed in March and the EMEA winner will be named in April.

The AOY Awards is a chance to congratulate agencies that have shown leadership, innovation, creativity, and contribution to the industry throughout the year.

The 2018 Japan/Korea Agency of the Year Awards ceremony took place at Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills on December 6, and the network honors were presented at the Ritz-Carlton Millenia in Singapore on December 13.

Regional and local management teams from major agencies attended to celebrate the successes their teams and those of fellow companies in the media, marketing, and advertising fields.

At Andaz Tokyo, eight individual and team awards plus 12 agency awards were given out. The panel of 11 judges—one of whom was ACCJ member Jonathan Kushner—reviewed and scored entries independently in the first round. Scores were then sent to auditing provider PwC to confirm the shortlist, which was then discussed at another meeting of the judges to determine the winners.

TBWA\Hakuhodo, based in Tokyo’s Minato Ward, was named Japan’s Creative Agency of the Year for the eighth year in a row, and the company’s Digital Collective took home Japan Digital Agency of the Year honors. The bronze Japan/Korea Best Culture of the Year as well as seven awards from the people and team categories also went to TBWA\Hakuhodo. Six out of seven were gold.

Ebisu-based MediaCom won Japan Media Agency of the Year after finishing third in 2017. In addition, their Asia–Pacific Chief Executive Officer Mark Heap was named Asia–Pacific Media Agency Head of the Year. MediaCom teams in Vietnam, India, and Japan received gold accolades, those in Indonesia and Hong Kong won silver, and bronze went to their New Zealand and Korea operations.


Network winners

Asia–Pacific Creative Network
Gold: Ogilvy Asia

Asia–Pacific Digital Network
Gold: Mindshare Asia Pacific

Asia–Pacific Media Network
Gold: Mindshare Asia Pacific

Asia–Pacific Programmatic Agency
Winner: Xaxis Asia Pacific
Runner-Up: Omnicom Media Group Programmatic


Japan Creative Agency
Gold: TBWA\Hakuhodo
Silver: Ogilvy Japan
Bronze: J. Walter Thompson Japan

Japan Digital Agency
Gold: TBWA\Hakuhodo Digital Collective
Silver: Accenture Interactive
Bronze: Ogilvy Japan

Japan Media Agency
Gold: MediaCom
Silver: UM Japan
Bronze: Mindshare

Japan/Korea Best Culture
Gold: Ogilvy Japan
Silver: Accenture Interactive
Bronze: TBWA\Hakuhodo

Japan/Korea Experiential
Marketing Agency
Gold: iProspect Japan K.K.

Japan/Korea Independent Agency
Gold: Wieden+Kennedy Tokyo
Silver: Asiance Korea Co Ltd
Bronze: relativ*

Japan/Korea Integrated
Marketing Agency
Gold: iProspect Japan K.K.
Silver: TBWA/Korea

Japan/Korea PR Agency
Gold: Edelman Japan

Japan/Korea Specialist Agency
Gold: McCann Health Japan
Silver: Omnicom Health Group

Korea Creative Agency
Gold: TBWA\Korea
Silver: DDB Group Korea

Korea Digital Agency
Gold: Asiance Korea Co Ltd
Silver: Isobar Korea
Bronze: TBWA’s Digital Arts / Network Seoul

Korea Media Agency
Gold: dentsu X Korea
Silver: UM Korea
Bronze: MediaCom Korea



Megan Casson is a staff writer at Custom Media for The ACCJ Journal.