Ogilvy & Mather Names New Japan Managing Director

HONG KONG — In what it described as a sign of its commitment to cracking the Japanese advertising market, U.S. advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather Advertising said it named Mark Blair managing director of the agency in Japan, a new position.

Blair, now Director of Strategy for Ogilvy & Mather in the region, will report to Tim Solomon, chief executive of Ogilvy & Mather Japan, which includes the advertising agency and OgilvyOne, the company’s direct-marketing unit.

Ogilvy & Mather said it is developing a separate management structure for the advertising agency in Japan, a system it says is used in the rest of Ogilvy’s markets.

“Mark will lead our Japan advertising business at a very crucial time for Ogilvy, particularly as we foresee significant opportunities for growth and new business,” said Miles Young, chairman of Ogilvy & Mather Asia Pacific.

“The job he is going to do is quite literally one of the plums in our whole network — and one for which we have high expectations.”

Japan, the world’s second-largest advertising market after the U.S., is a tough market to crack in part because, Western agencies say, the big Japanese agencies control access to Japanese media.

Ogilvy & Mather’s six-year-old operation in Japan is its third try at the market, and it says it is growing rapidly this time. It was one of the 10 largest foreign agencies in Japan last year.

Ogilvy & Mather, which has 200 staff members in Japan, counts IBM, Unilever PLC and Nestle S.A. among its biggest clients in Japan.

Blair has worked at the company for seven years, more than five of them in Asia.

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