Publicis Mojo Auckland shuts shop - Graeme Wills to start new agency Joy; ECD Lachie McPherson's next move yet to be revealed

Lachlan-McPherson-pic.jpgScreen shot 2012-12-21 at 11.07.05 AM.jpgUPDATED - The NZ industry is in shock today following news that Publicis Mojo New Zealand has ceased trading.

As a result, former Publicis Mojo shareholder and chairman Graeme Wills will start a new agency called Joy on January 1.

Wills (near left) will work on some projects with some of the senior Mojo crew, including ECD Lachie McPherson (far left), who CB believes is starting his own thing soon. Most of Mojo's clients will join Joy, including Goodman Fielder, Hallenstein's, Panasonic and Auckland City Mission.
In a statement to CB Wills said the opportunity for him to purchase Publicis Mojo NZ was tabled by Publicis late last year. However the sale did not proceed as anticipated.

Says Wills: "Publicis has indicated that it no longer requires an ongoing presence of Mojo in New Zealand, and has chosen voluntarily to appoint liquidators.

"Our intention would be that any clients from Mojo NZ that choose to join Joy would be able to do so seamlessly.

"We are excited at the idea of setting up a new communications company that is fresh, unencumbered and full of optimism."


Ryan said:

Fair enough, with the world ending and everything

Apocalypse. said:

Turns out it was the end of the world. For them.

Respect for Mojo said:

I really liked Mojo's work. Always fresh and they've got the gongs to prove it.

Very sad to hear they're closing.

Respect the dollar said:

yep, but gongs don't pay the bills (the French have been paying those for a while)

The end is neigh said:

If agencies continue their obsession for fluffy awards instead of solid business, we will witness more closures through out the region.

This really just happened? said:

I suppose shutting down an agency and opening your own shop on the wreckage is cheaper than buying it as a going concern.

If Publicis does not see a conflict of interest here, I don't either.

Lane Pryce said:

"Well, gentlemen, I suppose you're fired."

No surprise said:

Wonder how long this venture will last without mummy holding their hand.....

Mojo Heaven said:

So who won the sweepstake?

bobthebuilder said:

explains why Barnwell left so quickly....

Don said:

Joy? Stink name gentlemen, stink.

Joy said:

The new agency is called Joy and yet Publicis Mojo is responsible for a tonne of very sad and scared employees being left hanging just a few days before Xmas. They're also very well known for describing employees as cogs in the machine - replaceable at any minute. But it's not true.

Mojos debacle is a horrible experience for those who have foolishly believed in the agency. While the heirarchy sit in one of their many houses this Xmas, spare a thought for those who are unsure about thier mortgages, families and futures as a result of a selfish game play.

Merry Xmas, from a cog.

Hardly in shock said:

Over-inflated egos, decidedly average work and clients leaving in droves*, was always a matter of time. I feel sorry for the minions and the way this was handled - classy timing on this move.

*Best (now former) client quote ever "Sorry guys, we're running a little late, Mojo has run out of ideas"

Marge said:

Joy sounds like a woman who works in a charity shop

Marvin said:

Liquidate company, burn $9 million debt. Start a new one. Classic NZ business move. But what of the staff?

Disgusted said:

It is no surprise that the Fossils (big wigs) of Mojo lack moral integrity, but I am very disgusted by the thought that they will go on to create a new agency and more over one would have to question the integrity of the brands/clients mentioned in this article that are supposedly moving to joy, after all that has happened. I for one will not be spending my money on them.

The people opening Joy are the same people naming the hard working folk of Mojo figure how it would be being part of Joy.

I am not a cog of the agency, just an appaled member society.

Joy luck said:

@ Joy - I'd say it's many agencies with this attitude, not just Mojo.

christmas joy said:

Nice work before Xmas. Clients should think twice before going with these guys. They could not run an ad agency before. This will be no better, and nobody to bail them out for years this time. Should call the liquidators now to book them in for this time next year. Laws need to change to stop useless people running companies with their mates, wasting clients money while only worrying about themselves.

No wonder they went under.

xmas cheer said:

Merry Xmas Mojo. The bosses are laughing now. Got the new company all lined up including premises. Hope your Xmas party was a good one. Too many free lunches and parties eventually didn't pay off. Lacking leadership and common sense at management level.

Noel said:


Rudolph the red nose reindeer said:

Forget the nose, their whole faces should be red with shame. Publicis did well to rid themselves of these people. Obviously spent the last 12 months running the place into the ground intentionally, with publicis clients lined up to go at a moments notice. Not very ethical.......think about it guys.

Jack Del said:

Froggies will be happy to get rid of that dead wood. Melbourne next, watch this space.

Joy Schmoy said:

If they couldn't run Mojo, how will they run Joy?

Ex Mojo employee said:

I can't say no one saw this coming. Bad work run by even worse directors. Good riddance to old rubbish.

Ha ha said:

Try working for these assh@les.

Another Ex mojo employee said:

I saw this coming two years ago. Appalling lack of leadership and a total inability to capitalise on the sometimes great work of a minority of staff, because of the ridiculous inability to see past the inner clique of the 'chosen few', most of whom got where they were through politics and the blatant appropriation of others work rather than any actual talent.

Good riddance to bad rubbish - I only wish those whose fault it is were going to suffer the consequences but sadly it is those lower down who are getting the shitty end of the stick. I feel for them. I only hope the stigma of having ruined what was formerly a great agency follows the higher ups.

Its liquidation not shutting shop said:

Interesting that this story talks about 'shutting shop' - thats just spin, the truth is the parent company put them in liquidation (read below story ex Thats a little more serious than 'shutting the door'.
Will be interesting to see how the NZ directors manage to run a business while being chased for debt. Liquidation is a messy process that normally ends with the directors being nailed. Hope the trust accounts are robust :-)

"Auckland advertising agency Publicis Mojo has been put into liquidation by its major international shareholder Publicis Groupe.

The agency was behind campaigns for Speights Summit, Steinlager Pure and Hallensteins but its output for major clients has slowed recently and its financial accounts for the 2010 year showed liabilities outweighing assets by over $9 million.

Despite the financial state of the company and a revenue slump across the advertising industry, a senior industry source said the arrival of liquidators at the company's Parnell offices yesterday came as a surprise to the agency's employees."

outstanding invoices said:

Will my outstanding invoices not be paid now?

Outstanding invoices at XMAS!! said:

No show of getting those invoices paid for the past 5 months now!! Ha, ha. Xmas "JOY" to all. Don't supply the new company is all I can say. That's why they went into voluntary liquidation, coz they didn't want to pay the debts the idiots racked up while they were in charge of the Titanic. At least the titanic had a captain. These fools thought the ship could sail itself while they partied.

Management response. said:

Sorry. Can't pay you this month. Waiting for H.O. to send in the liquidators. Don't worry, I got paid my excessive salary and made sure I had no holidays owing.....Sorry got to go now, opening a new agency next week.

Simple said:

How do you make a profit when there are 30 people involved in 'strategising' conceiving creating revising and producing a simple fucken ad.

Get some capable people and just do it.

no surprises here said:

lets face it. Mojo sucked because it believed its own hype & this is the definitive proof. The top heavy & talent light executive suite drained the business dry while pursuing not for profit pet projects. NBR showed the business hadn't made a dime in 10 years so the only surprise is that it lasted as long as it did. Next head on the block has to be M&C - I've never heard such angry stories from current clients in long time. Clear out the dead wood and make way for people who understand the future.

I love it said:

'understand the future' is the sort of shite that's been taking the business backwards
get back to the core

Pondering said:

'Clear out the dead wood and make way for people who understand the future.'
Bwaaahaaahaaahaaa, spoken like a true sucker of the Kool Aid. Yes, man, you're all stuck in past man, you're all stuck doing 60 second TV ads, it's like you're blind to the future. It's all about Twitter, Facebook, influencers blah blah blah.

The trouble with people whom suck down the Kool Aid is that they are usually the one's whom have the shittiest ideas. You know the type; lacking insight, lacking an idea not found elsewhere on another blog, lacking a strategy. They attempt to argue their way out because they can recite bullshit from another blog.

Mojo was a case where good people have worked there (the previous Yarpie CD was actually pretty bloody good), but the management grew greedy and fucked over the employees (let alone the suppliers). M&C is (if you believe their hype) a digital agency - hardly ignoring the future, and their work is still a shit load better than others. Remember they are a small agency.

Which brings me to my last point, where, oh where, are the agencies in Auckland whom are stuck in the past? The old tired argument/pitch that 'Unlike everyone else, we're an agency bucking with tradition and embracing a digital future' is over, because that argument (best to my knowledge) doesn't hold true any more.

There are lots of ex-big agency heads trying to carve out a 'new media' future - hell, some believe that writing blogs, printing books based upon blogs, and making one-off mini sculptures will pay the bills. I say, let them think this way. I hope their future, and your future, have an extended line of credit from the bank.


has anyone heard anything from the new agency?

its been rather quiet...and i have not even found a website... I suppose they didnt think about the fact that they needed someone to do the work.... or shock horror they would need to do some...


Apparently was registered in August by the Razor Group - so some planning has gone into it

no surprises said:

The core is rotten. Mutate and survive - exactly what Mojo failed to do.

Hello said:

I don't think they're coming to nz.

Martin Sorrell said:

Had a look at the unsecured creditors list today. It's in the public domain A fair few staff and contractors in there - and some unusual others, too. Like Subway Kingsland. Saatchi NZ. And Trump International, hahaha, presumably for the Hallensteins promo. Sorry for all those who won't get paid because the liquidators themselves will be first in line.

Hello hello said:

Thank you for that Hello. The 'people' page is particularly illuminating.

Click on About said:

They have an address in Parnell.

And more interestingly they seem to have work from this agency on the site:

Joy us said:

Joy and Us seem to share the same CEO & Head of Strategy, clients, and Sydney address. Has Wills just bought into Us, rebranded and shifted clients across? The whole thing just stinks of a set up and it's really disappointing to see it happen to all of those owed money.

Memories said:

Anyone who was at FCB at the time of the (blessed) Mojo / FCB split will not be surprised by this. The way the Hyundai account somehow shifted from FCB to Mojo just before the split was a real eye-opener.

It is wonderful to see how well FCB has done since then btw.

Marvin said:

Well it all makes sense now. I thought was a typo at first. But no...

Shameful said:

A disaster for agency land... and the businesses of advertising.
This has Bad PR all over it...

Short Quotes said:

Shame about this - the bad PR this industry gets continues

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