Jay, who has been at Wieden+Kennedy since 1997, first worked with Fast Retailing in 1999 on a campaign for Uniqlo’s fleece products. According to a statement from the company, Jay will be responsible for “overall creative aspects of the company, including product design, store design, marketing, media and branding strategies".
Jay has experience in retail, having worked as director of marketing and creative services at Bloomingdales, the high-end US department store chain.
In the statement, Tadashi Yanai, Fast Retailing’s chairman, president and chief executive, described the early collaboration as “the beginning of a totally new direction and way of thinking for Uniqlo, especially in terms of innovative and creative communication.
Jay began his career at Wieden+Kennedy in Tokyo as ECD and partner, later becoming global ECD and partner, a role he held for a decade. He most recently led the agency’s Garage venture, which aimed to expand the boundaries of an advertising agency.
Commenting on the move from an agency perspective, Rob Sherlock, global ECD of ADK, noted that Jay was as important a fixture at Wieden+Kennedy as Dan Wieden, who co-founded the agency with David Kennedy in 1982 (Kennedy retired in 1993).
“Possibly [Jay is] at the stage of life where he wants a final proof point of his incredible creativity,” Sherlock said. He added that the advertising industry is likely to see more movement of top talent to the client side.
“Without doubt, we’re going to see more creative people moving to brands. Not just ad makers but truly creative individuals who get the overall business of what we do,” Sherlock said.
Fast Retailing’s portfolio includes Helmut Lang, Theory and Comptoir des Cotonniers as well as Uniqlo. Uniqlo in particular is noted for its highly imaginative approach to marketing with initiatives such as ‘Uniqlock’.