MAKATI CITY, PHILIPPINES // She was an ex-nun before she became the Philippines’ most awarded creative woman leader.
She came from two completely different worlds: the convent and an ad agency, merging the impossible. She jokes that “SIN” is even in the word ADVERTISING.
But the success of Merlee Jayme and her small, world-famous Cannes Grand Prix-winning advertising agency DM9 Jayme Syfu have just proven that these worlds can indeed co-exist.
Merlee is the first Filipino to be awarded The Creative of the Year for Southeast Asia in the Campaign Asia Pacific Agency of the Year 2013. She is the only woman in the top 20 Creative Directors in Asia, at number 4 in the Campaign Brief Asia Ranking for 2014.
Working as a creative for 25 years, she has also been recognized with The Hall of Fame Award from the Creative Guild of the Philippines, and the New York Festivals Creative Achievement Award. She was also featured as one of CNN’s Leading Women of 2015.
The small shop she founded 10 years ago: DM9 Jayme Syfu, is the Philippines’ no. 1 in last year’s Campaign Brief Asia Ranking and the very first Campaign Asia Pacific Creative Agency of the Year.
Aside from the impressive number of metals from local and international Awards in the past years, ‘the small shop of 33 people’ is known worldwide for Smart Txtbks, the award-winning idea of transforming used SIM cards and old GSM phones into a new kind of textbook for poor schoolchildren.
This idea won for agency and country a string of many ‘first’ awards that include: A Cannes Lion GRAND PRIX for Mobile, a Spikes Grand Prix, a D&AD Pencil, a Gold Andy, a New York Festival Grand Prize and a Grand CLIO.
Today, Merlee is “Chairmom” and CEO of the newly launched DENTSU Jayme Syfu. Her world–renowned agency partners with Dentsu, the largest advertising company and the Dentsu Aegis Network, the world’s fifth largest media group.
Advocacies that involve women and children are close to her heart. After all, that is her main purpose for creativity, outside the convent walls.