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Creatives You Should Know: Takahiro Hosoda, TBWA\Hakuhodo

Creative Director Worked on Suntory's Lauded '3D on the Rocks' Campaign

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Takahiro Hosoda in a Quiksilver wetsuit
Takahiro Hosoda in a Quiksilver wetsuit

Looking back at TBWA\Hakuhodo Creative Director Takahiro Hosoda's 10-year career, you're more likely to find "things" and "experiences" vs. the typical one-way ad.

A copywriter by training, Ms. Hosoda was part of the team behind the Suntory "3D on the Rocks" campaign that allowed consumers to 3D print ice cubes of intricate famous objects such as the Statue of Liberty, Michelangelo's David or Japan's Kinkakuji Temple.

The work earned accolades at Cannes last year and more recently top prizes at Asia's Adfest. "When people started to use 3D printers in our industry, I thought it might be interesting if we could carve ice into any form using a 3D printer," Mr. Hosoda said. Unfortunately, technology at the time wasn't able to do that, so realizing the idea required the agency to get its hands dirty at the company's just-opened prototyping studio. Instead of spending hours writing and planning as they usually did, the team devoted that time to developing the technology to get the job done.

More recently, Mr. Hosoda helped the conceive a new kind of clothing for beachwear/fashion brand Quiksilver. It's business suit that doubles as a wetsuit for surfers, enabling surfers-turned-salarymen to easily reclaim the more active lifestyles of their free-wheeling youth -- after hitting the waves in the morning, they can simply get in their cars and head straight to the office.

"We recognized that it would be important for the client to take the lead and take action to stop the decline of surfers in Japan," Mr. Hosoda said. "We thought we could bring people's attention to the lifestyle of creating a better balance between their personal passion and business life. We went to the beach and saw people changing from their wetsuits into formal business attire in the parking lot. We then turned our attention to creating a concept for wetsuits, which could be worn both as surfing gear and business suit."

As with Suntory, the agency devoted its time to creating a new product, bringing in a tag team of professionals that included a Quiksilver designer, a wetsuit artisan and a top business-wear stylist. Although the product is only sold in Japan, it generated media attention around the world.

Besides Suntory and Quiksilver, Mr. Hosoda has extensive experience with cars, having worked on Nissan throughout his career. His projects include a fun ad starring "Star Wars" stormtroopers who paint their typically all-white armor with red racing stripes after experiencing a bit of Juke envy. His more recent "Xtreme Delivery" campaign showed Xtrails traveling through treacherous terrain to deliver pizza to surfers and snowboarders.

If there's a bit of industry lingo that Mr. Hosoda can't stand, it's the word "target," which perhaps helps explain why his work is so hard to categorize.

The word is "so often used and abused in the advertising and marketing world," he said. "As soon as a customer is referred to in this manner, it creates a very passive image in the minds of planners. There are very few people these days who just passively sit back and take in information. We should stop the practice of one-way messaging. Let's begin to think of all consumers as Batman, Superman, James Bond, or even Goonies -- they are all heroes. And if we consider ourselves as 'sidekicks' to these heroes, we can create something truly new."

See more of the 2015 Creatives You Should Know.

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