Business / Industries

Fountain of ideas

By Carina Roncesvalles in Manila (China Daily) Updated: 2014-11-03 14:41

In the world of advertising, budget and creativity spell the difference. It pays to have a fountain of ideas that make brands and companies stand out in the midst of cutthroat competition. It pays even more to have a lean agency that generates a powerful stream of ideas that meet corporate budgets and consumer expectations through one creative execution.

Merlee Jayme underscores these business tenets as she leads Philippine advertising agency DM9 JaymeSyfu as its chairperson and chief creative officer.

Jayme started her career as a summer intern at international advertising agency J Walter Thompson, taking on different roles in account management as well as media and creative departments.

She explains how she ended up focusing on the creative side of the business.

"I thought (account management) had something to do with accounting and I was really bad in mathematics. Media sounded like show business and I was pretty shy, so I chose creative (work) because I had always loved to draw since I was a kid. This was the best choice I ever made in my career," she says.

Jayme eventually landed in the copywriting field. She worked at Ace Saatchi & Saatchi, the Philippine branch of the international agency, for 15 years, rising from trainee writer to vice-president and executive creative director. She was responsible for every piece of work that the agency produced.

"You keep the standards high regardless of the brand you work on or the client you work with. Besides the work, you have to continuously make sure your creative people are inspired and happy to churn out great ideas every day," Jayme says.

She says that leadership by good example proved effective for this demanding role.

In October 2005, Jayme and a few partners founded the agency DM9 JaymeSyfu, an affiliate of advertising agency DDB Worldwide.

"With a smaller headcount, everything is done more efficiently. The ideas are better. Work is done faster. The seniors get to attend all the meetings. Working hours are more productive," Jayme says.

Now nine years old, DM9 JaymeSyfu has 33 employees, with an industry productivity rate of 1.1 million pesos ($24,560) billings per employee.

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