Arts & Culture

Filipino Advertising Queen Bee Merlee Jayme Just Won a Cannes Gold Lion for This "Dead Whale"

"Dead Whale" was inspired by the 38-foot juvenile sperm whale washed ashore on Samal Island in Davao del Norte in 2016.
IMAGE VINCE CINCHES/ GREENPEACE PHILIPPINES; TINA TODA
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Philippine creative agency Dentsu Jayme Syfu's "Dead Whale" has just been awarded the Cannes Gold Lion for Outdoor and a Silver Lion for Design at the 65th Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. T&C cover girl Merlee Jayme received the award with Dentsu Jayme Syfu creative director and lead creative for "Dead Whale" Biboy Royong at last night's awarding ceremony at Palais des Festivals et des Congrès in Cannes, France.


Dentsu Jayme Syfu chairmom/chief creative officer Merlee Jayme and creative director Biboy Royong receiving the awards at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

"Dead Whale" was created for Greenpeace Philippines. The art installation earlier won a Grand Prix for Outdoor, Media & Digital at the Asia-Pacific Tambuli Awards 2018, as well as three Golds. While at the New York Advertising Festivals, the campaign ranked third in Best Use of Media: Public Service Outdoor. It has also been recognized at the APAC Effie Awards, The One Club, ADFEST, AMEAwards, and Spikes Asia Festival of Creativity.


Most of the Philippine archipelago is made up of water, making our marine life a big part of our ecosystem. With this fact, you'd think that Filipinos would be more caring of the ocean, but, sadly, we're not. We're actually one of the top plastic polluters in the entire world.

Greenpeace Philippines sent a strong message to everyone about this critical situation through an art installation by Biboy Royong at the Sea Side Beach Resort in Naic, Cavite. It showed a 50-foot whale "killed" after taking in too much waste. The piece, made up of plastic from junk shops in the community, was on display in May of last year.


It went with an online petition addressed to the ASEAN which stated: “Greenpeace is urging ASEAN states to take concrete measures and stop the environmental degradation and dwindling of marine life in the region, including support for global efforts for more marine protected areas.”

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“There was an environmental projection that by 2050, if we don't stop polluting our waters, there could be more ocean wastes than marine life,” said Royong. “What set the 'Dead Whale' apart is we based its shape, color, texture, size, and proportion on pictures of real beached whales. We even chose to show a decomposing whale so we played more with the textures on its skin using plastic trash we have collected. We wanted to surprise the community in the area. For it to work, we had to carefully craft a realistic dead whale.” A lot of people were even deceived the first time they saw it. It looks real until you lean in closer and find out that it's actually made up of plastic waste.

But the story behind it couldn't be more real. The "Dead Whale" was inspired by the 38-foot juvenile sperm whale washed ashore on Samal Island in Davao del Norte in December 2016. The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources later reported that the marine mammal died because of various toxic contents lodged in its stomach—plastic, fishnet, hooks, hardwood with nail, rope, and steel wire. Numerous stomach worms just aggravated its premature death.


“We really had a project in mind for ocean pollution and it was very timely that Greenpeace also had plans set for the year. We had the opportunity to launch it earlier because it's ocean month,” Royong tells us. The installation was completed in just five days with 10 people working on it. They chose the shores of Naic since it is part of Manila Bay, which, as we all know, is now heavily polluted. They group also considered foot traffic and the spot seems to be a perfect location to raise environmental awareness.

“Art makes a better statement. Seeing the dangers that is happening to our environment through a dramatic visualization urges people more to act against it,” the creative director asserts. Our world can really use artists like him to remind us to start taking care of our home.

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For more information, visit Greenpeace Philippines’ Facebook page.

This story originally appeared on Spot.ph. The story was updated by Town&Country's Paolo Chua.

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Christa De La Cruz for Spot.ph
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