"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.”
Photos of Merlee Jayme from her cover shoot with Town&Country
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.