O&M forms specialist Asian agency for Web access via mobile phones

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HONG KONG--Asia Pacific's first communications consultancy devoted to advising clients on the use of hand-held mobile Internet access technology is being established by Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide. The technology allows people to access the Internet using their handphones and other "wireless" devices. The new m.Ogilvy unit will be part of Ogilvy Interactive.

Miles Young, chairman of O&M Asia Pacific, says: "We believe that m.communication and m.commerce will grow faster, and to a larger size, in Asia than in any other part of the world. They will be driven by mobile-phone penetration, which will become the major source of Internet access. The phone, with a range of `anytime, anywhere' services, will offer marketers a whole set of new ways of connecting with consumers."

The Japanese mobile wireless market is expected to be worth $100 billion by 2003 versus $18 billion in 1999, according to estimates by the Mobile Office Promotion Association.

In Asia Pacific (excluding Japan), smart phone shipments are predicted by IDC to increase from 33,000 this year to almost 2.5 million in 2003.

"The implications of hand-held mobile Internet technologies for all kinds of businesses are profound," says Mr. Young. "So it's not surprising that a wide range of clients are interested in m.Ogilvy's services. m.Ogilvy will harness all our skill sets -- advertising, public relations, one-to-one and sales promotions -- to help clients exploit wireless. The unique edge of this unit is its holistic approach to wireless.At present, most thinking is merely about it as an advertising medium. This is very limiting."

m.Ogilvy will be headed by Tokyo-based consultant John Ricketts, who will report to Kent Wertime, CEO of OgilvyInteractive Asia Pacific. Mr. Ricketts is a former fellow of the Japanese Science & Technology Agency. m.Ogilvy consultants have also been appointed in each of themajor OgilvyInteractive hubs -- Tokyo, Bangalore, Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore and Sydney.

Mr. Wertime says Japan represents "the learning edge of m-marketing."

"The phenomenal success of i-mode represents a laboratory for the rest of the world," he adds.

Copyright March 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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