Dentsu JaymeSyfu on winning Campaign Asia’s 2016 Philippine Agency of the Year

When Dentsu Jayme Syfu was formed in 2015, winning awards seemed uncertain for the new agency. However, all were proved wrong when they were named Campaign Asia’s 2016 Philippine agency of the year in just less than a year of merging.

One wonders…how did Dentsu Jayme Syfu bag such an award, considering it’s still in the process of adjusting and pitching for new clients?

Bringing together people with diverse talents and assets created a powerful balance within the company that lifted each of their strengths. These skills were then translated into work that changed lives and inspired many.

Chairmom Merlee Cruz-Jayme, said “You cannot have the same powers (in an agency.) Each individual in the office must have something only they can offer. A trademark, perhaps.”

To answer the question on how they won –

Maybe it wasn’t because of a familiar environment, amount of clients or brand pitches won. But rather the work produced out of strong and hard-driven passion.

Even after a fruitful win, Dentsu Jayme Syfu continues to strive harder and discover more of their powers, soon to be used for something even greater.

With T&C cover girl, chairmom Merlee Jayme at the helm, the company bags the industry’s highest honor.


“It’s never about just me. It’s always group work, teamwork. I always say, ‘Let’s do this. We do this.’ It’s never ‘I, I, I, me, me, me.’ That makes people very egotistic. We teach our creatives not to be that way. Hindi puwedeng ‘ako’ lang. Kailangan, ‘tayo,’” said Merlee Jayme in her interview for our August 2016 cover. It’s the same work philosophy that brought her company DentsuJaymeSyfu the gold for Philippine Creative Agency of The Year at Campaign Asia-Pacific Awards. The win came as a huge feather in the cap for the company that had just merged with the Dentsu Aegis Network about a year ago.

In our T&C interview, the agency’s chairmom and chief creative officer said, “There’s never just one name on an award. The credits are to the team. Who came up with contributions to a particular idea? Who made it relevant enough to win? So there’s the person who thought up the idea, the one who wrote it, the one who sold it to the client, among many others. An ad campaign would never be an award winner without all the people who contributed to it.”

Tasks have become easier to fulfill with a team that’s now doubled in number. Merlee and her team have been known for campaigns that focus on women’s causes against abuse, violence, trafficking, and cyberporn. Their work for women’s group Gabriela, a moving campaign video that aims to get more people involved in the fight against violence against women, was one of their most popular campaigns. Their 2012 “Bury the Past” project for the same group earned them the gold as the 2012 Digital Media Awards in Beijing. “We wanted to help secure the futures of the girls who had been featured. We wanted to help them bury their pasts,” Merlee told T&C editor-in-chief Yvette Fernandez.

Merlee has always known better than to rest on her laurels. She’s already been working on a masterplan for the company’s next big step to go digital. “We have to have to equip ourselves with the technology and innovation to complete.” This latest achievement only pushes Merlee to work harder. She tells Adobo Magazine, “For us, this means that we have to consistently continue to raise the standard of creativity, and maintain a healthy relationship with our clients. For our clients, this reaffirms a solid partnership we have with them. That they can continuously put their trust and confidence with us.”

It’s all in the family. At least that’s how Merlee sees it. When she started her own company, Dm9JaymeSyfu, she made sure everyone was comfortable with each other and they functioned as a family. “Life is too short not to work with people you like,” says Merlee. “We celebrate our successes together and commiserate with each other when we lose a pitch.” And together they take every day an opportunity to be creative.

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Article from Adobo Magazine website 12/14/2016

MANILA – “No challenge is big enough to stop us from achieving our vision of creating ideas to change lives and change the world.” These are the words of Merlee Jayme, Chairmom and Chief Creative Officer of Dentsu Jayme Syfu after the agency snagged their newest prize. In just their first year of being part of the Dentsu Aegis Network, Campaign Asia-Pacific awarded Dentsu Jayme Syfu the Gold for Philippine Creative Agency of the Year at its annual Agency of the Year Awards. In addition, Dentsu Digit also earned Bronze for Philippine Digital Agency of the Year.

It’s only been approximately 365 days since DM9 JaymeSyfu was acquired by Dentsu, and that came with its own set of challenges. “Integrating two cultures is never easy, but once you successfully get everyone to uphold one vision and work relentlessly to achieve this, greatness happens,” Jayme shares in an exclusive interview with adobo.

“For one year, we simply pushed for creativity and the culture of accountability. This wasn’t as easy when we were smaller. We had to streamline positions, clearly define roles and responsibilities and to be profitable in our first year, we were strict with our expenses,” she adds.

Sharing one of the secrets to their triumph, Jayme points out, “In the past, we’ve had so much success because of the small size of our agency. Today, we’ve doubled in size but we kept thinking and acting like a small agency. We remained nimble, fearless and ambitious. It was not easy but we proved to ourselves it could be done.”

To achieve what they have in just their first year, it would be easy to rest on their laurels. However, that’s the furthest thing from Jayme’s mind. She says, “For us, this means that we have to consistently continue to raise the standard of creativity, and maintain a healthy relationship with our clients. For our clients, this reaffirms a solid partnership we have with them. That they can continuously put their trust and confidence with us.”

Looking to the obstacles that Dentsu Jayme Syfu may face in the future, Jayme is defiant, if not optimistic when she shares, “No challenge is big enough to stop us from achieving our vision of creating ideas to change lives and change the world. We pushed everyone beyond their limits at our agency and it is extremely satisfying to see our people respond with so much passion and dedication.”

In closing, the recently named Jury President for Press Advertising at next year’s D&AD Professional Awards states, “We want to personally thank each one of the Dentsu Jayme Syfu family for the hard work, the faith, and the never-give-up attitude despite the tough year.”

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Here is the winner list for the Southeast Asia region in the 2016 Campaign Asia-Pacific Agency of the Year Awards.

The winners were revealed in a ceremony in Singapore.

Philippines Creative Agency of the Year:

  • Gold: Dentsu Jayme Syfu
  • Silver: Ogilvy & Mather Philippines
  • Bronze: Leo Burnett Manila

Southeast Asia Creative Agency of the Year

  • Winner: Dentsu Aegis Network

Philippines Digital Agency of the Year:

  • Gold: MRM//McCann Manila
  • Silver: NuWorks Interactive Labs, Inc.
  • Bronze: Dentsu Jayme Syfu

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D&AD has named 19 creatives from the Asian region to sit on the various jury panels for their 2017 awards.

Three of these – Pann Lim, Josy Paul, and Merlee Jayme – will head the panels as Jury Foremen. Merlee Jayme, Chairmom and CCO at Dentsu Jayme Syfu Philippines will lead the Press jury; Pann Lim, Co-founder at Kinetic Singapore, will lead the Crafts for Design category; and Josy Paul, Chairman and CCO at BBDO India will head the Outdoor category.

See the full list of judges from Asia below:

Art Direction
Hanyi Lee CCO, The Secret Little Agency Singapore

Branded Content & Entertainment
Tim Cheng Chief Creative Officer DDB China Guangzhou
Ajab Samrai, CCO, Ogilvy & Mather Japan

Crafts for Advertising
Yuri Uenishi Creative Director, Dentsu Tokyo

Crafts for Design
Pann Lim (Foreman) Co-founder, Kinetic Singapore

Creativity for Good
Rajiv Rao CCO Ogilvy & Mather Mumbai

Digital Design
Kaoru Sugano Creative Director Dentsu Tokyo

Digital Marketing
Chee Keong Tan, Chief Creative Officer Leo Digital Network China

Norman Tan North Asia Chief Creative Officer/ Chairman, J. Walter Thompson Shanghai

Jennifer Hu Chief Creative Officer Ogilvy & Mather Taiwan
Gary Steele ECD TBWA\Singapore

Integrated + Collaborative
Joji Jacob Co-founder and Creative Partner, Blk J Singapore
Suthisak Sucharittanonta Creative Chairman BBDO Bangkok

Richard Yu CCO ADK Taiwan

Josy Paul (Foreman), Chairman, CCO BBDO India

Merlee Jayme (Foreman) Chairmom, CCO Dentsu Jayme Syfu
Tista Sen National Creative Director J. Walter Thompson India

Spatial & Experiential Design
Koji Iyama Creative Director Iyama Design Inc

Writing for Advertising
Bobby Pawar Managing Director, Chief Creative Officer – South, Publicis South Asia

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