INNOCEAN Begins Expansion into Japanese Market Together with ADK

INNOCEAN Begins Expansion into Japanese Market Together with ADK

NNOCEAN CEO William Lee (Left) and ADK HD president and group CEO Toshiya Oyama (Right)

INNOCEAN CEO William Lee (Left) and ADK HD president and group CEO Toshiya Oyama (Right).




NOV 21, 2023


INNOCEAN global CEO William Lee announced that the company has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for strategic collaboration with ADK, a major Japanese agency with a 67-year history.

At the MOU signing ceremony, which took place at the ADK headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, executives of both companies, including Lee and ADK HD president and group CEO Toshiya Oyama, celebrated the strategic partnership to explore new businesses and joint investment opportunities and exchange creative capabilities.

Founded in 1956, ADK is a large comprehensive advertisement agency with 11 offices throughout Japan in addition to its Tokyo headquarters, as well as global affiliates in 13 countries around the world. ADK is known to offer a full range of marketing services with its rich experience and know-how in creative planning/production, brand consulting, UI/UX, web design, space design, digital marketing, media planning/purchasing, content planning/production, IP and loyalty business.

INNOCEAN and ADK will establish a dedicated collaboration team based on this MOU, and both companies pledged to actively engage in exchanges of core creative resources and capabilities, explore new businesses, and seek joint investment ventures. INNOCEAN plans to undertake a leading role for not only Korean but also European companies looking to enter the Japanese market and actively develop new biz opportunities in Japan.

Furthermore, Japanese clients of ADK are also expected to enter the Korean market through INNOCEAN.

Meanwhile, the partnership is also part of INNOCEAN’s ‘Asia Creative Hub’ project, which the company is aggressively implementing. Recently, INNOCEAN has signed MOUs with leading agencies in Singapore and Thailand in order to reinforce its creative alliance in Asia. With this partnership with the Japanese agency ADK, INNOCEAN has successfully expanded its network into East Asia.

The synergy between ADK and INNOCEAN is also expected to expand as ADK is concentrating its capabilities on expanding in the Asian market with its recent acquisitions of VietBuzz, a Vietnamese digital agency, and Rage Communication, an Indian digital agency.

Lee stated, “It is critical to establish a partnership with a capable company when entering the Japanese advertisement market,” and added “INNOCEAN and ADK are planning to offer unprecedented global service by combining the strengths and unique capabilities of the two agencies.”

Sam (Wooksang) Ryu, CEO and president of INNOCEAN Europe, added, “This strategic partnership is more than a business move; it is a commitment to unlocking the limitless possibilities that arise when diverse cultures converge. And this does not confine itself to Asian brands in any way; it is a promise to our European clients of Asian-infused creativity and unparalleled access to important markets such as Japan.”






FEB 12, 2024


Dive into the world of iconic car ads with ‘Desert Island Ads’ top 5 picks by our Head of Creative, Dom Sweeney- sharing the correlation between the state of our industry and the creativity found in car ads, from nostalgic classics to contemporary gems, from More About Advertising article here.




Hyundai, one of the world’s largest car manufacturers, has been on a transformative journey into the world of electrification and alternative fuel vehicles – unrecognisable from the brand that launched in the UK many years ago, winning awards left right and centre for its unique designs and clever technology. IONIQ 5, Hyundai’s flagship all-electric vehicle, had recently been voted World Car of the Year 2022, so it was a good time to draw attention to the progress the brand has made through a national campaign, with the aim of increasing brand awareness and consideration.

It was also a great time to introduce UK audiences to the global pronunciation of the brand name; traditionally, the UK had always pronounced it differently to everywhere else, and this was the moment to introduce a change. With these objectives firmly in mind, we set to work.


The centrepiece of our campaign was a nationwide TV advert. People in the UK don’t usually take too well to being lectured on how to do or say things, and we knew that if we were to achieve the objective of introducing the global pronunciation of the brand name, we’d have to do it in a way that didn’t sound too telly – especially as the brand had been using the UK pronunciation for years beforehand.

So we knew that humour and characterisation were important. Cue a montage of people asking their phones to take them to “Hy-un-dai”, only to find themselves somewhere else entirely, be it the High ‘n’ Dye hair salon, the High End Pie catering van, a Hawaiian Tie clothing shop, or something else equally as silly. The film ends with a frustrated man outside Highland Eye opticians being helped by a driver of an IONIQ, who points out it’s pronounced “Hyun-dae, by the way”. Which of course, the phone now recognises.

The TV ad was supported by a national radio campaign to promote awareness of the brand’s recent award wins, and financial offers. The mispronunciation theme translating neatly into the audio-only format.


Having invented a number of fictious businesses all with names that might be confused with “Hyundai” for the TV ad, we decided to expand on the idea by giving each of them their own real life setting. We created a simple web page for each business, purchased the web domains, and brought them to life.  Each page had its own look and feel, whilst also signposting people that if it’s not what they’re after, to head over to

To complete the journey, we ran search ads and social media assets that encouraged people to explore the sites themselves before ultimately finding out more about Hyundai and the progress the brand has made.


The campaign has performed exceptionally well. According to the YouGov poll in January 2023, Hyundai enjoyed the biggest increase in brand awareness for January going from 5.4 on Christmas Day, the day before it broke, up to 18.7 – a jump of 13.3 percentage points, making it their “Auto Advertiser of the Month”.

It continued to perform effectively all the way through February and into March 2023, with YouGov’s follow up analysis stating that it’s not an incremental increase in brand chatter, but a quantum leap, with huge increases in word of mouth and ad awareness (tripling from Boxing Day to mid February 2023). Brand consideration was also more than 2 percentage points higher on 1st February 2023 than a year earlier, going from 13.5% to 15.7%.

It was also talked about by high profile presenters including Chris Evans on radio and Rory Reid for AutoTrader. And it generated a lot of chatter on socials, with a mixture of opinions – some people welcoming the different pronunciation whilst others steadfastly promising never to change.  But regardless of whether people adopt the new pronunciation or not, it doesn’t matter. It’s resonated with the consumer, got people talking about the brand and has had a positive, real effect on business performance.




Brand sponsorship deals and naming rights can be an enticing and rewarding marketing tool, however it takes more than just a few logos dotted around a sports ground to win over thousands of sports fans.

Real impact comes from brands reaching fans in a compelling way. Together with our long time global automotive titan Kia have nailed this by weaving its identity and brand into the fabric of the iconic Kia Oval (the home of Surrey County Cricket Club for over a decade).

As the new cricket season approached, it seemed like the perfect time to push Kia’s relationship with the grounds to new heights. The brief was clear, through fresh new social media content, make the already established partnership “bigger and better”.

We were tasked with developing the social media content, from ideation to execution, that would simultaneously appeal to and resonate with cricket fans, whilst spreading increased awareness of Kia’s association with the sport and further amplifying the automotive company’s new branding.


Securing time with three high profile Surrey County Cricket players – Chris Jordan, Ollie Pope and Rory Burns – at a pre-arranged media day, we set out to gather as much visual and audio recordings as possible. The challenge? We only had one hour with each player to gather the content they needed and most importantly, get it right under the strict time constraints. There was no option to go back and re-record.

Given these time limitations, a solid plan was needed to maximise the sessions with each player, all whilst sticking to the brief and keeping the pre-recorded car footage front of mind. We drafted scripts prior to meeting the players, which ensured the voice over part of the sessions were kept as short as possible. Video briefs and storyboarding meant videographers could capture the staged visuals as swiftly as possible whilst again staying in line with the original brief.

Our video production team successfully gathered footage of each player’s ‘pre-match’ moments, as well as their ‘celebrations’ on the field.

The strategic preplanning of scripts and visuals meant that we were able to savour time to capture authentic and candid interviews with the players. The effective use of time helped the agency stockpile a large variety of visuals and audio that would aid in the execution of the brief.

With the work we did during the day, we are able to capture the following content:

  • Organic interview session.
  • Scripted voice over session.
  • Visual shots of Players’ profile, kit prep. Their ‘pre-match’ moments in the changing rooms.
  • Outdoor shots of the players on the field, their celebrations.

Three edits were developed with the footage we shot, one for each player. The tone of the videos was adapted based the footage and recording for each player, varying between the unscripted and the scripted to produce edits that feel relaxed, natural and engaging.


The use of archival cricket footage meant less pressure to capture all footage needed on the day. This type of footage also added further dynamism to Kia’s visuals and those that were recorded during the sessions.

The collaboration between Kia and Surrey County Cricket Club yielded a resounding success, creating a seamless link between the automotive giant and the cricket world. The final visuals and content not only established a compelling connection between the sport and the brand but also delivered an exciting and interactive viewing experience.

In total, the three films accumulated over 29,500 views on Surrey County Cricket Club’s Instagram channel with an astounding 3.1 million impressions from the content on Kia’s own channels. The results exceeded all expectations and received much praise from cricket fans, the cricket club, and the car manufacturer.

Kia commended the videos, dubbing them as the best piece of cricket content produced in recent years. The social media surge that followed the launch of the content solidified the success of the brief with the videos playing a pivotal role in elevating the partnership between Kia and Surrey Cricket Club.




In what was the brand’s largest ever sponsorship deal in the UK, Hyundai became the sponsor of Film on 4 in 2021. They wanted to showcase their recently launched new electric car, IONIQ 5, to help build awareness of the brand’s efforts to become a more sustainable manufacturer and a leader in the move to electrification. So, they looked to us to craft a series of eye-catching TV idents for the campaign.

Our idea was to focus on IONIQ 5’s built-in Vehicle-to-Load technology, which allows the car to charge or even power other equipment using its own battery, to bring the medium of film to life. We plugged a film projector into the car, waited for nightfall, and then cast scenes inspired by different film genres onto the street-lit walls of Manchester and Liverpool.

All the scenes were captured in camera and enhanced in post-production. The cinematic feel was completed by the music, which was composed by Mercury Award-nominated Anna Meredith.


From our perspective, these are the most elegant and rewarding idents we’ve produced to date – and we’ve done more than our fair share in our time. From a cowboy cantering along the road, to a flying saucer landing down the side of a tower block, the eye-catching spots brought the magic of cinema to life through the clever application of the vehicle’s technology, and it was a pleasure to create them.

As the campaign is ongoing, final results are yet to come in, but interim survey results suggest it’s working well. Measurement of awareness of the campaign and of the Hyundai brand is positive and we’ve seen other leaps in the rankings in multiple areas. In particular, the survey indicates that Hyundai is now seen as a leader in electric vehicles, and a more sustainable brand than people had first thought.

And with projections like that, the future for Hyundai looks bright.




Onoto is a British luxury pen brand dating back to 1905. Having seen two World Wars and found its way into the hands of several British Prime Ministers over the year and even used by Florence Nightingale, the brand has a heritage that endures to this day.  As a small company now based in Norwich, Onoto had been posting regularly on social channels, but with ambitions to grow the brand, it needed a partner to handle and expand on these activities so it could concentrate its own energy into the products and distribution. That’s where INNOCEAN came in.

With a light touch at first, our in-house team began to curate the weekly content to be posted, writing the text to go with the beautiful photography supplied to us. Over time, we began to make recommendations on how to optimise the posts and posting cycle, as well as which products and to promote based on what was going on in the world. Be it an anniversary of a historical event, or a newsworthy theme that lent itself to one of the pen collections.


The advertising industry loves it when brands let their hair down every 1st April, so we were delighted when Onoto said it wanted to join in the fun. Together we launched the Onoto Smart Pen, which would be able to communicate with its accompanying app to tell you the strength of its nib and how much ink was left before needing a refill. Needless to say, it wouldn’t have fooled many people, but with the way technology is advancing, we wouldn’t be surprised if this became a reality soon.


The organic posting to this point had all been in preparation for Onoto to dip its toe in the world of paid social media. Onoto has a loyal following, but to reach a wider audience, we knew it would have to put money behind its campaigns to get seen by more people. Our in-house media planning team recommended a small test budget at first and built out a target audience. We selected the Hurricane pen as the product to promote, which is made with metal taken from a real Hurricane fighter plane from the Battle of Britain.

After 14 days and with a budget of just £200, the campaign delivered 725 clicks, over 5 times as many as the KPI target, and reached 12.1K users over 28.5K impressions. Though only a small trial, the positive results gave Onoto the confidence to commit greater spend to future campaigns. Paid media and a focus on growing its audience is now a more permanent element of the overall marketing plan, and we’re enjoying the part we’re playing in growing the success of this heritage brand.


2017-2018 SEASON

The London Chamber Orchestra is the UK’s first professional chamber orchestra. Their mission is the same today as it was 100 years ago – to change how people experience classical music.


They asked us to create a new look for its 2017-2018 season, which was a series of concerts each with a different emotion as its theme.


Because a chamber orchestra is a more intimate and immersive way to experience classical music, we decided to bring to life what it feels like to be swimming in sound. So, we immersed the LCO logo in a sea of colours and assigned unique patterns of paint to the season’s five chosen emotions – empathy, wanderlust, jealousy, joy and nostalgia. The stills and film that we created became the visual identity for the season, in posters and concert programmes as well as appearing online and in social media.



We also introduced the LCO to Jack Coulter, an artist from Belfast born with synaesthesia, which means he sees colours when he hears different sounds. And he created a piece of art live which was projected behind the orchestra and streamed online while they performed Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor at Cadogan Hall. The event was covered by Vogue and appeared in Wonderland magazine.




As part of Hyundai’s role as a supporting partner of the Stand Up To Cancer fundraising initiative from Cancer Research UK and Channel 4, they were given a special, one-off 60 second advertising slot to air during the evening broadcast. This was an extremely exciting opportunity to create something bespoke for a noble cause. The only problem was that we had less than a month to create something that millions of people would see.

Apart from the practicalities of spending a huge budget on an epic TV ad in under a month from briefing to broadcast, it just didn’t feel right to do it, given the nature of the project. So we and Hyundai decided to make the film as cheaply as possible, and donate the rest of the budget to Stand Up To Cancer.

We were determined to turn the tight deadline and need to be frugal to our advantage. Thankfully, we had our in-house creative team and video editor on hand to ensure all post-production could be done internally to keep concept and post-production costs to a minimum, as well as fine support from the good folks at Snapper Films to arrange the shoot.

So, after a few late nights drawing up placards with words to encourage support, and a few desperate emails to friends and colleagues, we assembled a cast of people who were happy to appear in a film that cost next to nothing to make, but which would be beamed all around the country on an important night for charity.


Whilst the crowning jewel in the Stand Up To Cancer campaign may have been our National TV advert, our Dealer Marketing team also worked tirelessly throughout the year to get the Hyundai dealer network involved and doing their bit. The “Drive Out Cancer” campaign saw the 160+ dealerships donating to Stand Up To Cancer for every test drive taken. A whole array of support materials were created by our internal design studio, including posters, point of sale, car livery kits, event programme ads, digital banners, social media posts, email templates and more. All of which could be customizable by the dealerships. The dealerships could also host their own fundraising events, getting involved with their local communities.




Parkinson’s isn’t just tremors. There are over 40 symptoms that most people don’t know about. We’ve been working with Parkinson’s UK over the past year to come up with ideas that aim to educate people about these lesser-known symptoms. One of which is anxiety. It affects around a third of the 145,000-people living with Parkinson’s in the UK.

Research has shown how chemical changes in the brain caused by Parkinson’s can make it harder to cope with stressful thoughts. Inspired by the anxiety caused by hyper-connectivity in the digital age, we imagined the brain as an app that constantly sends out notifications of worry.


The Anxious Brain campaign launched at the end of May 2018 and was rolled out with a series of 20 second videos on paid Instagram Stories and Facebook In-Stream – both new channels for Parkinson’s UK.

We went further and used digital OOH billboards in popular shopping centres and train stations across London to convey how anxiety can occur in these everyday situations.






JULY 27, 2023


In the latest article for New Digital Age, our Head of Creative Dom Sweeney discusses the relationship between AI and creativity, and why creativity cannot be learnt or replaced. Explore the full article here: New Digital Age: Creativity is not a Imitation Game”