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The Work That Made Me: Aki Matsukawa


Every year, the Gerety Awards announce the winners in September and this year, Aki Matsukawa serves on the executive jury representing Japan. Here, she looks back on her creative work as well as the issue of diversity, which has had a great impact on her and her work. 本ページの内容は、ページ下部に日本語でも掲載しています。Japanese follows English

The Work That Made Me: Aki Matsukawa

Based in Tokyo, Aki Matsukawa, senior copywriter at Geometry Ogilvy Japan, has provided creative solutions to multi-national companies in a wide range of industries. With a US MBA from Boston, she is known for her ability to make proposals based on direct dialogue with business leaders. Aki’s work has won numerous advertising awards, which have been featured in best-selling books and textbooks used across Japanese schools. She has served as a juror for numerous advertising awards, including the Gerety Awards and AD STARS.

The ad/music video from my childhood that stays with me…

I was inspired by the performances of Vanessa-Mae, a violinist raised in London who transcends the genre of classical music. I began playing the violin at a very early age and discovered her when I was a teenager. Having always practiced classical music using traditional techniques, I was blown away by her unconventional and emotional performances. My encounter with Vanessa-Mae’s music inspired me so much that even today I’m constantly going through a 'rebellious phase' with my work, continually defying existing rules and preconceptions to bring about the best end result.

The ad/music video/game/web platform that made me want to get into the industry…

In honour of The Gerety Awards, comprised of an all women jury and on which I serve as a juror this year, I would like to focus on gender equality. During the 1980’s, there was an advertisement for a Japanese career information magazine that said, "Professional skills do not lead to gender discrimination プロの男女は、差別されない。" (copy by Tadashi Nakamura 中村禎), against a visual of male and female professional ballet dancers dancing together.

Many young people in Japan face gender role discrimination, perhaps more than they realise – both before or after they enter the workforce. This advertisement gave me the opportunity to shift my perspective. I began to focus on my own skills – which I can improve – rather than lamenting on societal perceptions that I cannot change on my own. 

The creative work that I keep revisiting…

Ten years ago, I secretly asked the legendary copywriter Takashi Nakahata 仲畑貴志, who laid the foundation for modern advertisements, on what to do when I get stuck. "Stare long and hard at the copy you developed in the past," he advised. In other words, the solution to your problems lies within you – and that you are your great rival. It was a lesson well learned.

My first professional project…

My first project was a campaign for a Japanese housing company operating globally. The project gave me the opportunity to write copy in my native tongue, Japanese, which was then translated into English. Since that time, I’ve been interested in 'copy translation', which is so much more than just replacing words in a different language. I wanted to learn about localization – an important part of copy translation. I thought the best way to learn was to immerse myself in that local culture, so ultimately, I worked as a copywriter at a California-based agency.  

The piece of work that still makes me jealous…

I am positively jealous (all in a good way!) whenever I encounter innovative expressions or descriptions in communications, whether that be in my daily life, online or elsewhere.

In the past, I have served as a juror eight times for both international and domestic advertising awards. Whenever we go through the screening process, I place importance, of course, on the judging criteria, but also on whether or not I feel that 'positive jealousy' from a campaign.

The creative project that changed my career…

The creative project that changed my career is a TV commercial for Japanese Sake I worked on at a prior agency. The idea was to communicate the 'exquisite balance of raw ingredients' to differentiate its delicious taste from other Sakes. The traditional depth of flavour was expressed through 'Ishi-Hana (Stone Flower),' a Japanese style of rock balancing, where stones are artistically piled up using only gravity – a style similar to that of Ikebana (Japanese Flower Arranging). 

The idea of using stones was actually inspired by the limited production cost. Lots of agencies pitched for this client, nevertheless we won the pitch, with an extremely simple idea that didn’t require a large budget. As a result, we achieved an excellent advertising effect and received high acclaim both inside and outside of Japan. Since this project, I have come to truly enjoy whatever constraints we face when developing advertisements.

The work that I’m proudest of…

I’m most proud of my work on the breast cancer pink ribbon campaign, with the tagline "I thought being busy and not going for check-ups meant a happier life for me." The response to the campaign in Japan, where people often regard a busy life as a symbol of a wonderful life, was phenomenal. We even heard the copy was moving enough to bring people to tears. 

That’s not to say that I don’t also like to generate ideas that make you burst out laughing – the exact opposite emotion of this particular campaign. Copy is such a powerful tool – having the power to generate tears or laughter with just a few words. Being a copywriter is such a rewarding job and being one makes me immensely proud.

I was involved in this and it makes me cringe…

I was involved in a campaign for a marital counselling institution. The tagline was "I got promoted. There was jealousy. I was harassed. By my husband." 

Based on true stories, we developed a series of ads depicting gender roles within Japanese families. Through reactions from other countries, I was reminded of the wide gender gap here in Japan, which is said to be among the most serious in advanced countries.

The recent project I was involved in that excited me the most…

I was excited to work on a senior care pet food product. Japan is one of the countries with the longest life expectancy in the world, and the life expectancy of our pets is increasing too – a shocking fact to some. We communicated the importance of early adoption of senior pet care to help promote healthy lives for our pets.

I am always excited about the work I do! All the projects made me realise the best part of my job – proposing unprecedented perspectives and values that shift mindsets.

The Work That Made Me: Aki Matsukawa 
私をつくった仕事: 松川亜紀


ジオメトリー・オグルヴィ・ジャパン、シニアコピーライターの松川亜紀は東京で、各国に展開しているさまざまな業種の企業にクリエイティブソリューションを提供してきました。ボストンで取得したMBAの視点を活かし、各企業のビジネスリーダーと直接的な対話から生まれるその高い提案力には定評があります。彼女の作品は数々の広告賞を受賞し、日本の学校で使われている国語の教科書やベストセラー書籍などにも掲載。ゲレティ・アワードAD STARSなど、広告賞の審査員も多く務めています。

The ad/music video from my childhood that stays with me…



The ad/music video/game/web platform that made me want to get into the industry…


今回審査を担当した、女性の視点で世界の広告に注目するゲレティ・アワードにも関連するのですが、 1980年代に展開されたジェンダーがテーマの広告です。日本の就職情報誌の広告なのですが、コピーライター中村禎さんの「プロの男女は、差別されない。」というキャッチフレーズで、男女のプロバレリーナが踊るテレビCMでした。


The creative work that I keep revisiting…


現代広告の礎を築かれたコピーライターの仲畑貴志さんに、 行き詰まったときのアドバイスを10年前にこっそり伺いました。今回特別にそのときのお話を明かすと、「あなたのこれまでのコピーを、じーっとにらむこと。」と答えてくださったんです。なので、私は自分のポートフォリオをよく振り返っているのですが、悩みの解決策はいつも自分の中にあり、ライバルは自分自身であることをその言葉から学びました。

My first professional project…



The piece of work that still makes me jealous…




The creative project that changed my career…




The work that I’m proudest of…




I was involved in this and it makes me cringe…



The recent project I was involved in that excited me the most…




キャッチフレーズ: 一生の半分はシニア期だから

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Geometry Ogilvy Japan, Wed, 20 Jul 2022 08:15:13 GMT