Meet Shinji Suzuki, Senior Executive Director of JAA
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I was born and raised in… a peaceful town surrounded by mountains in the Japanese Alps region.
I studied… economics and focused mainly on South Asian economies. I learned a lot about India’s economic history in particular.
Right after university I joined Ajinomoto, a Japanese food company. I worked in the sales department for 10 years before becoming in charge of retail and processed foods in the marketing department and the general manager of the health and wellness business department for 20 years.
When I started in the advertising/marketing industry… there were many marketing jobs and different marketing functions at Ajinomoto. Since joining JAA, there has been an increasing overlap among marketing functions and skills, especially around digital and media.
My proudest career achievement is… I discovered a new pharmacological action of amino acids and launched a new health business stream around it. With revenues at around 10 billion yen per year, the profit margin of this business stream for Ajinomoto is very high.
Our priorities are… to create a system to ensure transparency and greater control of digital advertising investments in Japan and to improve the culture of long working hours in the Japanese advertising industry through an industry-wide initiative.
A very specific challenge in the marketing industry in my country is… transparency of advertising investments, with transparency at a low and costs at a high. With the rapid growth of digital advertising, JAA has been assessing the opportunities and challenges of digital and more traditional media such as television to ensure greater transparency and bring more value to advertisers.
If I could change one thing about the industry today, it would be… how the Japanese advertising industry is centralised and concentrated in Tokyo. Instead, promote more regional/local advertising.
What most people don’t know about me is… I am a very good pianist. I even had a jazz session with Grammy award-winning composer and pianist Hiromi Uehara!
One thing about my country… The back seats of Japanese taxis have automatic doors. When the taxi stops to pick you up, please wait without trying to open the door because it opens automatically. If you will be joining us for Global Marketer Week in Tokyo in May, I encourage you to take a Japanese taxi at least once!
JAA Japan is co-hosting this year’s WFA Global Marketer Week and Global Marketer Conference in Tokyo on 15-18 May. Find out more about the week here.
This is part of a series of monthly interviews with heads of national advertiser associations in WFA membership.