5 Minutes with… Satoshi Chikayama

Jun. 9, 2023
  • Reportage

Originally published on Little Black Book

The Hakuhodo ECD talks accolades, his lengthy creative career, and campaigns that went beyond marketing success

Satoshi Chikayama, executive creative director at Hakuhodo, brings a unique blend of international business experience and creative prowess to his role. Having joined Hakuhodo in 2003, Satoshi’s career has since been strewn with accolades, including a JAAA Creator of the Year Medal and a Gold at Cannes Lions.

Sitting down with LBB’s Tom Loudon, Satoshi’s shares his perspective on the business of advertising, Hakuhodo’s distinctive ‘sei-katsu-sha’ insights, and campaigns that extend beyond marketing success.

LBB> How has your background in international business impacted your current work at Hakuhodo?

Satoshi> It’s had many positive influences on me. Strong ideas can easily transcend borders and reach many people. To achieve this, copy and visuals must always be simple.

The insight of people is the same in any place. However, every place has its own unique culture which should be respected. Through this process, the solution is optimised. The most valuable thing for me is that I was able to realise this idea not theoretically but through my own experiences.

LBB> At Hakuhodo, you pride yourselves on using world-class research, big data, and digital expertise to develop innovative creative solutions for your partners. How does Hakuhodo stand apart from similar companies in this space?

Satoshi> In a word, Hakuhodo’s edge is our unique method of sei-katsu-sha insight. Sei-katsu-sha is a term we use to describe people not simply as consumers, but as fully rounded individuals with their own lifestyles, aspirations and dreams. We use a vast array of data and technology to understand the whole person. We do not divide people into consumers, producers, clients, or targets.

By understanding the whole person, we can design communication in a more essential and efficient approach. I believe this is an appropriate attitude in an age where it has become commonplace to ask for social responsibility in economic activities.

LBB> Over the course of your career, are there some specific campaigns you are particularly proud of? Why?

Satoshi> It’s hard to pick just one. The first one I remember is ‘The Restaurant of Mistaken Orders‘. This was a restaurant event where people with dementia could work as waiters. In 2019, we held an event in the staff cafeteria of the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare in Japan. This was the first “working opportunity for people with dementia with a payment” in Japan, and it became literally a historical event. My career has had marketing successes, and international awards, but I feel very proud to have achieved such a socially significant outcome. We have had and still operate multiple spin-off events all over the world.

LBB> You recently served on the PR jury at the D&AD Awards, do you relish such opportunities to be involved in the broader ad community?

Satoshi> I am, of course, very honoured. It was a wonderful experience to be part of the jury of a highly ambitious international award like D&AD. I was able to update my own knowledge and also have a positive influence on my colleagues working in Japan. And most of all, it is great to be a part of raising the bar for creative and PR in the world. I would like to thank Judy John, the president of the PR category, and all the judges for their hard work and dedication to the judgement. I feel that I have a responsibility to continue to pass on to the next generation the content that was discussed at the judging.

LBB> You’ve been a JAA Creator of the Year Medalist and have won gold at Cannes Lions. What do accolades mean to you, over the context of your career?

Satoshi> For me, honour is to have a positive impact on people around the world. To make people think that the world we live in can still be better. And it would be great if someone I meet for the first time says they wish they have the chance to work with me!

LBB> Would you say your background is different to most others in the industry? If so, how does this set you apart from your peers?

Satoshi> I don’t really think what I do is special. I just try to identify and communicate what is truly great about a brand, service, product, or person. At the root of it all is thoroughly just being kind and having an honest point of view.

I know this sounds very ordinary, but I believe that there is value in doing ordinary things with creativity. I dare say that this may be what differentiates me from my peers.

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