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No advertising agency dominates its market as comprehensively as Dentsu, which controls more than 40% of all mass media advertising in Japan, and has a staggering portfolio of more than 6,000 clients. Until recently, Dentsu's influence outside Japan has been limited to say the least. But since 2000, the giant has begun to spread its wings, becoming one of the principal backers of the newly expanded Publicis Groupe in a concerted bid to increase its share of Western advertising budgets. Advertising Age ranked Dentsu as the #5 ad organisation worldwide in 2004 with revenue of $2.9bn. Source


Dentsu is the largest advertising conglomerate firm in Japan (controlling over 30% of the total market by revenue and an estimated 40%-50% of commercial airtime on Japanese television) and one of the largest advertising conglomerates in the world. It operates in 27 countries. 95% of revenue currently comes from Japan.
Like Havas, it began as a news service and advertising agency. In line with Japanese and major overseas competitors the group's services include media and event planning, market research and public relations. It also has large-scale printing, data processing and systems integration, music publishing, exhibition, film and other operations.
It has alliances with WPP (eg a partnership with US-based Young & Rubicam) and a stake of around 15% in Publicis. Source


Dentsu group holdings include


Dentsu East Japan Dentsu West Japan Dentsu Kyushu

  • Dentsu Hokkaido
  • Dentsu Tohoku
  • Dentsu Tec
  • Ad Dentsu Tokyo
  • Dentsu Kosan Service
  • Dentsu Public Relations
  • Dentsu Research
  • Information Services International-Dentsu,
  • Dentsu Eye
  • Dentsu Management Services
  • Ad Dentsu Osaka
  • Ad Dentsu Inc. (Nagoya)
  • Ad Dentsu Inc. (Hokkaido)
  • Dentsu Music Publishing
  • Dentsu.Com
  • Dentsu Casting & Entertainment
  • Music Gali
  • cyber communications
  • Creative Associates
  • Dentsu, Young & Rubicam (50%)
  • impiric dentsu
  • Dentsu, Sudler & Hennessey


stakes in

Further reading

Brian Moeran A Japanese Advertising Agency: An Anthropology of Media and Markets (Richmond: Curzon Press 96).


This chronology is indicative only. Context is provided by the broader communications/media timeline.

1901 Dentsu founded as Japan Advertising & Telegraph Service (JATS) news service and advertising agency

1936 news service hived off from agency

1955 JATS renamed Dentsu

1975 establishes Information Services International-Dentsu as a joint venture with GE to provide computer timesharing and other data services

1980s forms Dentsu Y&R joint venture to operate network in Asia with Young & Rubicam

1988 gains Japanese government recognition as systems integrator

1996 forms Cyber Communications inc joint venture with Softbank

1999 Leo Burnett and MacManus merge to form The Leo Group

2000 Leo and D'Arcy Marius Benton & Bowles merge to form BCom3

2000 buys stake in US advertising group BCom3

2001 takes 15% stake in Publicis when Publicis buys Bcom3