A former boss of Publicis Mojo NZ has said the decision to close the agency looks “cynical” on the part of the parent group.
The agency was put into administration in December owing $16m to creditors, although the vast majority of that was owed to the parent Publicis Groupe itself.
Former Mojo NZ boss Graeme Wills (pictured), who left the agency in December 2011, told B&T: “Even though I haven’t been involved for 12 months I was surprised. I have no idea why Publicis did it, and what the rationale is. Why they didn’t sell it and push it into Saatchi & Saatchi I have no idea.
“It was a voluntary liquidation from Publicis, not forced by any creditor. According to local management it had a cash positive position. If they didn’t want it why didn’t they sell it, and why didn’t they put the clients into Saatchis?
“It can only be it was advantageous for them to do it that way, it’s pretty cynical really.”
He said Publicis had given him the option to buy Mojo, but the deal had been taken off the table unexpectedly and no more talks had taken place.
His new agency Joy is a joint venture with Razor director Andrew Wynne, and has taken former Mojo client Goodman Fielder as its foundation client.
Wills said Joy would be a very different agency from Mojo which would not suit many of his former agency’s clients, adding: “It’s going to be great, it’s a proposition around what clients need these days, and how to sell their products in what is a very challenging environment.
“It’s telling them how to actually sell the stuff, and I’m pretty excited by it.”
He added the aim of Joy is to create international outposts, initially in New York and then looking at the Australian, and other, markets.