Mojo Partners

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Founded by Alan Morris and Allan Johnston in Sydney, 1974; merged with Monahan Dayman Adams to become Mojo MDA, 1986; Mojo MDA acquired Allen & Dorward, San Francisco, 1986; opened offices in Auckland, 1987, and London and New York, 1988; acquired by Chiat/Day to become Chiat/Day/Mojo, 1989; sold to True North Communications, 1993; 40% share sold to Australian executives Graeme Wills and Nicholas Davie, 1996; remaining 60% acquired by Publicis to form Mojo Partners, 1997.

Alan Morris (Mo) and Allan Johnston (Jo) founded Mojo Partners in 1974 in Darlinghurst, Australia. The two were part of a maverick influence in Australian advertising that "Australianized" the industry, drawing on self-revealing images and introducing Australian language, characters and humor into the ads they created.

Mojo's ads became part of the vernacular, and jingles such as "Come On, Aussie, Come On" (for Australian Cricket) and "You Oughta Be Congratulated" (for Meadow Lea margarine) became anthems for a national style of advertising.

Mojo's strategy was to forge an emotional bond with the customer by appealing to the heart, not the head. Its most memorable advertising packaged the product promise in the chorus of a jingle, such as "How do you feel? Like a Tooheys or two"(for Tooheys beer). Another international campaign, this one for the Australian Tourist Commission, featured actor Paul Hogan welcoming travelers and offering to throw "another shrimp on the barbie."

The success of Mojo attracted the attention of the country's largest advertising agency, Monahan Dayman Adams. With a blue-chip client list that included Qantas, Australia Post and Westpac, MDA merged with Mojo in 1986 to become Mojo MDA. But the agencies' cultures soon clashed. The year after the merger, the new agency moved to Cremourne, Australia, and shifted its positioning to that of a serious business organization. Soon afterward, it opened overseas offices in San Francisco, Auckland, London and New York.

In July 1989, Chiat/Day acquired Mojo MDA and renamed the shop Chiat/Day/Mojo. Once again, it was an uneasy partnership. The Mojo culture did not fit easily into the Chiat/Day mold. In 1991, Mr. Morris left the agency; Mr. Johnson remained with Mojo until 1994, when he became a consultant.

Chiat/Day/Mojo was acquired by True North Communications in January 1993. Three years later, Australian executives Graeme Wills and Nicholas Davie negotiated a 40% management stake, with the remaining Mojo Partners shares sold to France-based multinational Publicis.

The new management team disbanded departments and profit centers to encourage multidisciplinary solutions and a client-focused organization. The re-engineering, which took three years, represented not just a change in the organizational structure but also a shift in thinking to embrace a new way of doing business. In three years, the shop's revenues grew 44.8%.

In 2001, the renamed Publicis Mojopartners had billings of $310 million. Publicis no longer breaks out revenues for its individual agencies.

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