United Entertainment Group (UEG), part of DJE Holdings Network, opened its first Asia office in Tokyo today. The self-described entertainment, sports and lifestyle agency said the new hub will play a pivotal role in its expansion into the Japanese market, and as it prepares for the 2019 Rugby World Cup and 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
The Tokyo office is UEG’s third new international office within a year, following the opening of its London division in 2017 and Hamburg, Germany, earlier in 2018.
Jarrod Moses, UEG’s founder, president and CEO, told Adweek that since his 10-year-old New York-based agency was acquired by DJE in 2014, it has been increasingly building out its capabilities and extending its global footprint.
The Japanese market is particularly important in leading cultural trends in fashion, lifestyle and retail, Moses noted, “We want to be on the ground with the agencies incubating these cultures … we want to advise brands that are close to the cultural change in the market.”
It’s also a tricky market to navigate as its social media and digital “ecosystems” are “drastically different” than any other market, Moses said. “Social influencers and digital content in Asia is a little behind what’s happening in the U.S. but a little more advanced than what’s happening elsewhere.”
Toru Fumihara was hired as managing director of the Tokyo office and brings 20 years of experience in the digital and social media space to assist in that area. Hailing most recently from the marketing consultancy and sports management firm he founded, F Inc., Fumihara also spent nearly a decade at Red Bull’s Tokyo division leading sports marketing, talent and influencer engagement and sponsorship activation.
The Tokyo office comes to market with 10 employees but Moses said UEG will be “aggressively staffing” over the next couple of months to “build a sustainable agency” for its clients. The Tokyo division will serve about 10 to 12 of UEG’s 75 global clients at its start.
Fumihara will report directly to Mary Scott, president of global integrated communications, who was appointed to oversee the operation and growth of UEG’s Asia offering. Scott will remain based in the network’s New York headquarters.
Scott has more than 25 years of experience in “guiding brands through global sponsorships and platforms including throughout 10 Olympic games,” UEG said in a statement.
Moses predicted that the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics will be UEG’s “biggest one yet.”
The Olympics “are becoming more contemporary as far as the games are concerned” as more stations broadcast lesser-known sports that are gaining cult followings among millennials, like curling did in the last Winter Olympics, Moses said. Athletes are also “engaging more with a younger audience” which is “creating relationships” with viewers.
As far as brands go, planning for the 2020 Olympics has begun primarily from clients in the automotive, tech and energy industries, Moses added. “Brands that are involved in the Olympics start planning 1,000 days out in some cases.”
For the 2020 Olympics, Moses said to watch out for more “digitized, interactive” experiences. As for what to watch within his own agency, he noted additional markets on its horizon include “anywhere from Latin America to UAE (United Arab Emirates).”