Malaysia’s ISC Innovators group earlier this month entered into an exclusive affiliation agreement with Daiko Advertising Inc., Japan’s 4th largest agency network and part of the leading HDY Holdings group, the Tokyo Stock Exchange-listed parent company of the Hakuhodo, Daiko and Yomiko advertising agencies.


The Daiko network has the largest domestic coverage of Japan with offices in 21 key market centres throughout the country and billings in 2013 of more than US$2 billion (RM6.5 billion).


ISC Innovators is the fully-integrated agency spawned in late-2011 from the ISC group which from 2001 to 2011 had a 10-year joint venture in the former TBWA-ISC agency here. Its founder is Indonesian-born, US-educated and trained, Dutch national and Malaysian permanent resident Austen Zecha who, over the past 43 years since 1971, has sold his previous agencies to, among others, JWT, Landor Associates, Saatchi & Saatchi, Edelman Public Relations and, most recently in 2011, to TBWA Worldwide.


In announcing their exclusive affiliation for Daiko’s clients and prospects in Malaysia, its Singapore-based Chief Representative Director for ASEAN and India, Wataru Kageyama, today said, “The ISC Group’s heritage and legacy in Malaysia, and ISC Innovators’ investors and owners’ entrepreneurial reputation and track record, have attracted and convinced the Daiko network to have them as our exclusive Malaysian affiliate to assist Daiko in servicing, nurturing and growing its portfolio of clients in the country and the region.


“This exclusive affiliation is viewed as a prelude to our investing in ISC Innovators to become a joint-venture partner in the ISC Group for the growing Malaysian market place, which already has more than just a handful of our principal Japanese clients marketing their products and services throughout the country for the past decade, and possibly elsewhere in the ASEAN region too.


“And Daiko and its key clients are, of course, very bullish about the future commercial and industrial growth of Malaysia, as we also are about the entire ASEAN region, over not just the next few decades but well beyond. This is part and parcel of Daiko’s future growth strategy outside of Japan, as well as China and Vietnam where we already have our own full-service agencies and soon also in India.


“We may be just entering the ASEAN markets but, now with our exclusive affiliation with ISC Innovators, expect to make up for our late entry into this very exciting region”.


Daiko only last year opened its ASEAN/India representative office in Singapore tasked with its expansion in the region, including Australasia or Oceania and South Asia, especially in India where it expects to open its first office there in Chennai later this year.


Added ISC Innovators’ Austen Zecha, “We are honoured and very pleased to now be the exclusive Malaysian affiliate of the growing Daiko Advertising network in the Asia-Pacific region, and that this affiliation may also extend to other markets in the region.


“ISC Innovators’ owners have specifically targeted being the exclusive Malaysian affiliate, prior to a partnership, of a leading Japanese agency network because Malaysia, as the rest of ASEAN, is without a doubt principally a market place for Japanese brands, products and services.


“And with ISC Innovators as my 52-year professional career’s ‘last hurrah’, and after having sold all my previous advertising, design and PR agencies to Western multinationals, my co-investors and partners here had unanimously agreed from the re-start of our ISC Group in 2011 that we would tie-up with only a leading, integrated Japanese network such as Daiko as a culmination to my nearly life’s work in marketing communications”.


According to Zecha, ISC Innovators, its associates and Daiko share a common vision in “being part of a regional network of indigenous, owner-managed, fully integrated, medium-size agencies for optimum cost-efficiencies in delivering outstandingly effective through-the-line ideas, work and more accountable and responsive services to clients with whom we value tenure far more than anything else”.


ISC Innovators also has its own fully-integrated and multi-award winning “sister” agency, Olomana-Loomis-ISC, in Honolulu, Hawaii since 2001, and which is a member of the ICOM international consortium of leading independent agencies with more than 80 offices worldwide. In addition, it now already has its own associates in Australia, Indonesia and Thailand besides its exclusive affiliation with the Daiko network in Japan, China, Singapore, Taipei, Vietnam and soon also India.


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