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Case Study

Building an advertising behemoth: Dentsu Group


Launched in 1901 as Japan Advertising Ltd., it was many decades before Dentsu adopted the name we recognise today. After a series of mergers and acquisitions that saw it become one of Japan’s leading advertising companies and briefly adopt the name Japan Telegraphic Communication Co., Dentsu Inc. was born in 1955.

Many more mergers, pivots and accusations followed over the following years. The 2000s saw a move into the publishing and entertainment field with the takeover of the Pioneer Corporation, and the digital marketing and PR field with the purchase of Aegis.

Before long, Dentsu’s vast advertising arm was operational across four divisions: national advertisement market, advertisement-related market, new market and foreign market. The company does business with almost every major government department or public institution in Japan and receives around 28% of the country’s total advertising budget.

This vast portfolio of services and a high-profile client base propelled Dentsu Inc. to become the largest advertising agency in Japan and the fifth-largest advertising agency network in the world in terms of revenues.

There was more restructuring in 2020 when the business transformed to become a pure holding company under the name Dentsu Group Inc. The wider Dentsu Group is operational across more than 145 countries and regions, employing almost 70,000 people worldwide. In 2022, it generated over JPY 1tr in revenues.

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