Avenue A/Razorfish Adds Japanese Outpost

NEW YORK Avenue A/Razorfish continued its international expansion with a deal to enter the Japanese market through a partnership with Japanese ad giant Dentsu.

Dentsu and aQuantive, parent company of Avenue A/Razorfish, inked an alliance deal in Japan. As part of the deal, Dentsu Web shop Digital Palette will be renamed Dentsu/Avenue A/Razorfish as of Feb. 1.

The alliance gives Avenue A/Razorfish a quick entry into Japan, the second-largest Internet market in the world behind the United States. AQuantive has moved to expand Avenue A/Razorfish’s international reach in the past year, acquiring agencies in the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany and Australia.

Clark Kokich, worldwide president of Avenue A/Razorfish, said the agency had seen success in expanding business with clients from the U.S. to other markets it has added through international acquisitions in the past year.

“You’re going to see more global interactive pitches,” he said. “This will strengthen our hand in participating in those pitches.”

Six-year-old Digital Palette builds Internet and mobile sites for clients. In 2005 it expanded its services with the purchase of database marketing firm R2 Innovation. With the alliance, it will expand its agency services to include media planning and buying.

Dentsu/Avenue A/Razorfish will have about 150 employees and offices in Tokyo and Kobe. Reo Watanabe, founder of Digital Palette, will lead the agency.

Under terms of the deal, aQuantive will own 19 percent of the agency, with Dentsu companies owning over 50 percent.

Kokich said he expects Avenue A/Razorfish to make additional acquisitions in international markets, particularly Europe and Asia.

“Those markets are growing faster than the U.S.,” Kokich said. “There’s no reason not to continue.”