With a long-standing reputation as London's coolest agency, privately owned Mother continues to make waves and win plaudits for its creative work, although it has largely abandoned the quirkiness for which it was once known, at least as far as its ads are concerned. In fact, since 2000 the agency has moved firmly into the mainstream, although what was once a much-envied roster of blue-chip clients (including Coca-Cola, Boots and Unilever) has suffered some erosion. That success also encouraged the agency to open offices in New York and Los Angeles (minority owned by local managers) as well as an affiliate in Buenos Aires (until 2017). There is also a London-based design agency; the group is co-owner of "brand acceleration agency" Broody; and it has a strategic joint venture in Shanghai with Singaporean shop The Secret Little Agency. In most other respects, this resolutely independent company is just as determined to do things differently as it was when it launched over 20 years ago, not least with the founding partners' strict policy of never being photographed together unless in disguise. Founding partners Robert Saville and Mark Waites continue to oversee the business, along with Andy Medd (previously marketing director at Coca-Cola UK) and Matt Clark. Michael Wall is global CEO. Saville is the group's controlling shareholder. Umbrella company Mother Parent Ltd reported revenues of £123m in 2019, gross profit of £68.0m and net profit of £5.7m. The US accounted for more than half of turnover according to statutory accounts, and 159 of the group's 363 employees. Nielsen (in Campaign) estimated UK billings of £115m for the year.
Capsule checked 22nd January 2021
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Historical profile information for Mother
Marketer Moves 15th Jun 2022: New CCO TBC at Mother New York. See Marketer Moves (members only).
Marketer Moves 9th Feb 2022: New chief creative officer named at Mother London. See Marketer Moves (members only).
Marketer Moves 10th June 2021: From Mother to Wieden & Kennedy. See Marketer Moves (members only).
Adbrands Daily Update 3rd Feb 2021: "Your Uber Awaits". The end-of-lockdown ad carnival continues. Uber has more to gain than many from the lifting of stay at home restrictions, and Mother is here to help with the festivities. British ads really seem to specialise in these acutely observational collages: all those details of a life lived within four walls. An American-made campaign for the same concept would go for something broader and less abstract - people not things. A fine campaign. But what are you doing here sitting here watching it? You should be out there rediscovering your social life.
Adbrands Daily Update 10th Mar 2021: "Fizz". Hard-pressed AMV BBDO's grip on the UK PepsiCo account - one of its biggest if not the biggest overall - continues to loosen as Mother joins the Pepsi roster with this effervescent spot featuring rapper and comedian Big Shaq. In its approach and its use of sound collage, older viewers might be reminded of the same brand's timeless "Lipsmackin' thirstquenchin'..." ads (by Dave Trott at BMP) with which we grew up almost 50 years ago. That was mould-breaking back then in the 1970s, and this feels similarly revolutionary today, a reduction of branding to pure sensation that goes several steps further even than Coca-Cola's latest "Ooh! Ahh!" campaign.
Adbrands Daily Update 18th Jan 2021: Mother has unveiled its first ever inhouse media offering. Media by Mother will operate as a standalone unit, only in the US at first, out of the New York office, but possibly making its debut in the UK at a later date. The business is led by Dave Gaines, previously global head of media strategy for WPP, partnered by Will Heins, ex-Accenture and Omnicom Media Group.
Adbrands Daily Update 6th Jan 2021: "Give It Some". The creative team at Mother were clearly burning some midnight oil in the run-up to Christmas. Here's our second offering in two days from the masters of Shoreditch, this time for the meal kit company Gousto. The ad takes that visual food-porn formula - arguably originated by Sainsbury's in the 1990s, then further developed by Marks & Spencer and most recently perfected by Wieden & Kennedy London for Lurpak - and adds a new spin by aligning it with different musical styles from electro to pop to heavy and more. That brings a playful new zest to the genre. If we're honest, the spot runs a bit longer than necessary; 45 seconds would have been perfect, but it's still a refreshing burst of energy.
Adbrands Daily Update 5th Jan 2021: "Fortune Favours The Frugal". Many things about 2021 are likely to be different. One of them, Ikea and their UK agency Mother are hoping, will be an even greater push towards sustainability and environmental awareness. That has spawned a splendidly cinematic and suitably anti-apocalyptic spot in which the earth is saved from a rubbish meteor by waste-conscious consumers. Hoorah! Seventies soul outfit The Barons take what is already a great ad and do what it says on the record label with their Northern Soul classic 'Making It Better'
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