J Walter Thompson Sydney lets go creative directors John Lam, Chris Badger and Gerhard Myburgh, creative group head Laurie Geddes and senior copywriter Steve Dodds

JWT-SENIOR-CREATIVES.jpgCampaign Brief can reveal that J Walter Thompson, Sydney has let go creatives directors John Lam, Chris Badger and Gerhard Myburgh, creative group head Laurie Geddes and senior copywriter Steve Dodds.

Lam (top right) joined J Walter Thompson in 2005, Badger in 2012, Myburgh (bottom right) in 2012, Geddes (bottom left) in 2002 and Dodds (top left) in 2015.

UPDATE: CB has since received the following statement from J Walter Thompson:

J. Walter Thompson Sydney can confirm a small number of staffing changes have been made to its creative team as it works towards the implementation of a new structure to service Vodafone. The changes have been made following a careful examination of the creative services required across the business. Out of respect for the few staff involved, J. Walter Thompson will not provide specific details or make further comment at this time.
An announcement about the final structure of the account will be made in due course.


Damn said:

So sorry to all involved. Seriously talented and lovely people.

And Again said:

Four men and only one female. More proof advertising is still a boys club.

Life said:

It’s a tough industry and getting tougher.
It’s not the first or last time good people who do good work will lose their jobs.
But they’ll end up somewhere soon.
Cream has a habit of rising to the top.

Just a boy said:

Always sad but that’s the story of advertising since the beginning of time. Win accounts, life is awesome. Lose accounts, everything sucks. That’s the way it goes. These people will find jobs no doubt. Just look where the current is flowing.

@and again said:

Maybe they should let go more females to balance the numbers.

Ibaka said:

@and again

Four men LOST THEIR JOBS and only one female LOST HER JOB. Fixed that for you

Gladys said:

Very sad and having 'been there, done that' I recognise the trauma, questioning and immediate family impacts on those who have lost their current jobs.

But, why doesn't the head of the tree rarely get chopped in such cases?

It seems it's almost always the middle-men / middle-women who get lopped and thrown out as scapegoats.

And I'm guessing from the JWT presser, that "the small number of staffing changes" have removed around $1.2 to $1.5 mill from the annual payroll - not to mention the diminution of experienced creative output from the mothership.

Ageism? said:

This decision is all about cutting costs by letting go of senior creatives on top salaries. Not an encouraging sign for those in the creative department pushing 40.

How disrespectful said:

The small number, few staff shit is so disrespectful. But not as bad as @and again. You are an unadulterated piece of shit. People who have worked their arses off have just been flicked and you piss all over them. Rot slowly.

Vodafone said:

Has Australia’s most toxic client struck again?

@Vodafone said:

That’s what I was thinking. Why even call the client out in the release otherwise?

And Again said:

What you fail to realise is that any man with a family needs to support that family whereas far fewer women are the sole or primary breadwinner. So in aiming for a 50 50 split what you're really doing is disadvantaging a number of women who in many cases rely on the income of their partner because they've chosen to focus on family or a part time or less high powered role. You'll get more two income households and more no income households. Congratulations. One of the biggest issues in employment right now is unemployed middle aged men. Men whose kids depend on them for the most part.

Leah said:

I’m so sorry to hear this. Johnnie Lam and Laurie you’re the greatest xx

Been there said:

@ Life said:

"But they’ll end up somewhere soon.
Cream has a habit of rising to the top."

I hope so as they are all good people and good creatives, but sadly there aren't many jobs for creative people once 45 or 50 is in the rear mirror.

Don't despair said:

Yes, it's tough to get gigs in agencies, particularly in Australia, when you're pushing 50. But that's only agencies. And with the whole industry being turned upside down by consultancies and tech companies, the opportunities to go solo, client side or partner up with production companies are more than ever, not to mention far more lucrative than working for an agency anyway. Good luck.

Honest said:

Good well behaved people never get made redundant

Nostrodamus said:

Anyone hitting 40 should look outside the traditional agency model.There are better options out there. Advertising agencies will soon fade out and be bought by brands and consultancies anyway. Just look at M&C, they are Commbank. Without the bank, they would collapse. The writing's on the wall for all agencies.

Gary H said:

It looks like the end of the Sydney office for JWT. If you’re left with the kids to do the work the bottom line must be hurting. Hopefully they have understanding clients who don’t mind inexperience. Good luck to the creatives it’s JWT’s loss not yours as someone said cream always rises to the top.

Endangered Species said:

@and again. white middle aged men are now an endangered species in this industry thanks mainly to dipsticks like you with big mouths and little talent.

Ex colleague said:

All were hugely talented and dedicated people. That still counts for a lot.

@honest said:

Bad people get made redundant. But so do good people.

The industry does not discriminate.

Ready to leave this industry if it doesn't change said:

@and again

You have actually got to be kidding. Your antiquated view of family incomes is appalling, uneducated and offensive.

"Any man with a family needs to support that family"? This view isn't only damaging to women and their prospects of being considered as equal to male colleagues, it's damaging to men too. The suicide rate in men is astronomical (compared to women) with stress/pressure of providing for the family often listed as a key driver.

Equality in pay and the workplace will mean families, couples and individuals can make decisions as to what is right for them - without the worry that they'll be discriminated against based on their gender. Men won't need to be the default breadwinner due to being favored in the workplace, the pressure and load can be split.

@readytoleavethisindustry said:

see ya

scenesbydean said:

Guys - and particularly to John & Laurie whom I used to work with - from one who's been there, in time this will be the most liberating experience. Even though the landscape is changing, the need for strong thinkers and good creative is not limited to adland. Great opportunities will come to you, believe me.

#ToxicVodafone said:

So by the words restructure do they mean Vodafone is off again. Boy they don’t hang around, they’re now on an agency a year. They truly are Australia’s most toxic client.

Name change said:

Now JWT stands for Just Without Talent. Some amazing creatives that they will find hard to replace.

Honest said:

@Honest. Let me be franker then - these 4 are responsible for the appalling Subway ads we are subjected to and some of the world’s worst telco advertising for Vodafone.

Phil Parsons said:

@honest must be so talented he doesn’t even know how to spell his name. Or is it embarrassed as then we could judge how amazing your work truly is?

Paul Friedmann said:

Doddsy, G, Lammie, Laurie and Badger are five of the most considerate, genuine and talented people I have worked with in my 32 years in advertising. It has been an absolute pleasure working for you and alongside you.

Schedenfreude said:


One day it will be you.

Joe J said:

Ever the voice of truth Paul - well said mate.

I have worked with Badger, Laurie and John on various campaigns and they are very talented creatives and just genuine nice people, I aways looked forward to collaborating with them. I wish them all the very best of luck for the future. I'm sure they will be snapped up very quickly.

Brendon E said:

@and again & @Honest.

Park this equality and back stabbing bullshit and for once and think for the 5 people who have just lost their lively hoods.

@and again - Pick your time to fight for equality... This is not one of those times.

@Honest - Also learn about the industry before you slate an ad you see that these guys have done. if you have half an understanding of our industry you will know they would have started in a great place but because of client, research and general idiot, ideas get worn down until they can sometimes be unrecognisable.

At the end of the day, have respect for those who have to go home and tell their families they no longer have a job. You two seriously need to either grow up of stop hiding behind screens. Step up or get out.

Blades said:

Agree with Friedmann. 100%.

Patrick said:

Heroes not legends...(yet).
Looking forward to what all 5 of these genuinely talented people champion next.
This bump in the road isn't going to stop these indefatigable creatives from doing what they do best.

Insider said:

They drew a line on a spreadsheet and everyone over that salary was sacked.

However, we are all partly to blame. We taught the generation below to expect half the rate we were on. Now they’ve grown up it will bite everyone on the arse.

Truths said:


That's the scary truth.

Last thing on a Friday said:

The creatives "let go" might have been considered old-school, but that "last thing on a Friday to minimise the bad press" strategy predates them by decades.

Staffer said:

Shame on you JWT

Doddsy's lunch said:

Sad to think of all those empty desks on the right side of the office. Nice, capable creatives, every one of them.

wow said:

So how many people are left in creative then, six?

Greidy said:

That's all we need.

More talented freelancers on the streets.

Best wishes Johnny, Laurie, Doddsy and co.

Greidy said:

ps. What Staffer said.

Elliott W said:

10 times agree with Paul. Great creatives, even better people.
Lammie gave me my first start as a creative so it's especially tough to hear.
All 5 will have something big and new before that huge redundancy cheque even clears.

Greidy said:

Johnny stole my first Sichuan prawn.

How many suits were let go? said:

I bet there were none.

Old CD Guy said:

Unfortunately being talented does not guarantee that you’ll find another job. Your age and your salary level become millstones. And your experience and standing in the industry actually count against you with those lesser individuals who are responsible for hiring you. They often regard you as a threat. Especially if you’re more famous than they are. I say that hoping that things work out for these creatives who I knew personally and admire.

Sorry to hear said:

Call Esther, she’ll sort you out no worries.

LK said:

John & Laurie are two of the most talented and lovely creatives I've worked with. What a shame for JWT.

Time’s up said:

No suits gone? Only creatives, surely the ECD must be looked at.
His wage would had covered those 5.

Miami intern said:

Why get rid of one of the best mentor juniors can have, thanks to John i’m now working in one of the best agencies in the world. Pity indeed.

Thanh said:

Laurie, Johnny, G, Badger and Doddsy - You guys are seriously some of the most talented, hard working and friendliest people I've ever worked with. Life in advertising is honestly better with all of you in it and I won't be surprised if the smarter companies jump at the chance of getting you on board.

+1 for Esther said:

The Clerehan can.

John Koay said:

I've worked with these guys, and they are some of the nicest people I know. They built JWT's key client relationships over the years and also mentored some of the best creatives who are now spread around the world. It's a shame they had to be let go. Wishing all of you the very best in your next adventure.

Steve Dodds said:

This story has probably dropped off the main page, but I'd just like to say how much I've enjoyed working with Lammy (again), Laurie, Badge and G over the past few years.

All still talented. All still passionate. All still making a difference.

Advertising yoof has a heck of a standard to live up to.

Paul C said:

Badger and team all the best. Sure you will land on your feet or in a new even more exciting adventure.

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