JWT sends out internal memo confirming end of Changi relationship

Incumbent JWT will no longer be working with Changi Airport Group (CAG) for its creative duties after a five year long relationship.

In an internal memo to employees seen by Marketing, Southeast Asia CEO Jacco ter Schegget wrote that while he was disappointed the agency was not appointed by Changi, he believed JWT and Mirum did well.

"This is the first time that Mirum and J. Walter Thompson had come together in pitching such a big piece of business. I believe our work was solid, on brand, and fresh. The client recognised this as well. Together, we gained significant ground and finished a close second. But in our industry there’s no prize for second place. Therefore after a hand-over period, the Changi business will leave the agency after five years," ter Schegget's memo said.

He added that JWT and Mirum took into account the possibility of Changi not being retained and have planned for individuals working on Changi to be redeployed to other accounts. This was to "minimise the impact as far as possible," ter Schegget said, adding that the respective individuals have been notified. A spokesperson has confirmed the news. Marketing understands that there won’t be any senior departures.

He said, "To conclude, personally I don’t like to lose in life. Especially not this one, as it was the first big pitch I took on at the agency. Many people felt that we had little chance, and some advised against even taking this pitch on. But I’m glad we pitched. It gave me a great first-hand experience of working with the wealth of talent in our agency, and we put into practice and tested our combined Mirum and JWT proposition."

He added that pitching for Changi "proved very rewarding" and will set the agency "in good stead" for further transformation. In a separate statement to Marketing, ter Schegget said while the agency had hoped for the best, it had also planned for the worst.

“We had measures in place to ensure the impact of this loss would be very minimal. It’s been a privilege to work with Changi for the last five years, and we look forward to the opportunity of working with them again in the future," he said.

JWT had made it to the final round of shortlist, which saw Ogilvy and BBDO both pitch for the account. The pitch initially called in August last year, saw six agencies vying for the account. These agencies were JWT, BLK J, BBDO, Ogilvy & Mather, TBWA and TSLA. It was managed by consultants R3.

Meanwhile, to ramp up its creative efforts, JWT also brought on board  Farrokh Madon as chief creative partner. He was formerly chief creative officer of Y&R Singapore, a role he left in 2014.

Madon came on board Y&R in May 2012, reporting to then-Southeast Asia CEO Sanjay Bhasin and regional chief creative officer Marcus Rebeschini. Before Y&R, Madon was executive creative director at McCann Erickson Singapore, and ECD at BBDO Singapore. He has also worked for agencies such as Ogilvy & Mather, Saatchi & Saatchi, Batey and M&C Saatchi.