SINGAPORE: Advertising agencies should diversify into new areas, beyond traditional advertising, where they can utilise their particular expertise, two industry figures have argued.

"We can create new industries in the future," Kentaro Kimura, executive creative director at Hakuhodo Kettle, told Campaign Asia Pacific. "The advertising business is OK right now, but in the future, we don't know."

He pointed out that categories such as gaming and mobile didn't exist a few years ago and argued that new industries "may lead the ad agency to a new level".

Kimura and his colleague Morihiko Hasebe expanded on the theme in a seminar at the Spikes Asia conference, saying that agencies needed to develop business ideas "to monetise our skills and knowledge".

Hasebe noted that as the areas of technology and media expanded, so too did professional spheres. "The boundary of these fields is becoming blurred and integrated," he said.

Hakuhodo itself generates 20% of its revenue from other businesses, including a unit that uses cameras to collect information that helps sports teams with their strategies. This was cited as an example of how an agency could use its skills with data and technology to move into new areas.

"You can start your own business in your favourite field," said Kimura, but added that it was important "to do what you desire".

Hakuhodo was also, famously, part of the team that designed a menu for a Tokyo restaurant based on soil as the main ingredient. "The key is to try the undone," said Hasebe.

The agency has also been involved in redesigning conventional products and services, such as a hotel for business travellers, whose greatest need, a survey found, was for quality sleep. Features included massage chairs and special sleeping rooms.

"Focus on people and break the conventional rules," declared Hasebe.

A full report from Spikes Asia 2013 will be available on soon.

Data sourced from Campaign Asia-Pacific, Contagious; additional content by Warc staff