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 significant erosion. That success also encouraged the agency to open an office in New York 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 Asia with local 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 £103m in 2017, gross profit of £53.1m and net profit of £2.5m. Nielsen estimated billings of £141m for the year.
Capsule checked 13th February 2019
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Historical profile information for Mother
Adbrands Social Media 15th Apr 2019: "Molly". Mother launched its first campaign for satellite broadcaster Sky, now a division of Comcast. It's less of a change of strategy than an evolution, with Idris Elba still on-board as the ambassador for the enhanced Sky Q multi-room multi-channel service. But Mother has opened up the campaign style a little more to ground it more firmly in customers' homes, rather than simply Idris's own pad. "All too often, when a new agency comes on board, the impetus is to throw everything out and start afresh," says Mother partner Katie Mackay-Sinclair. "There was a lot that was working well for Sky; so the real opportunity was to augment what was already working by creating a new, richer brand world and a more emotional, insightful dimension to the campaign."
Adbrands Social Media 28th Jan 2019: "Change Up The Usual". The internet went slightly crazy over the weekend when Jeff Bridges hinted that his beloved 'Big Lebowski' character The Dude would be making a surprise reappearance at the Super Bowl. But for whom? That was the question. Turns out he's having a date of sorts with Sarah Jessica Parker's Carrie from 'Sex & The City' - we already knew she would be turning up from earlier teasers. Forget their two signature drinks of a Cosmopolitan and a White Russian; it's Stella Artois all round. Mother New York plays matchmaker, having successfully cornered more than its fair share of the general Super Bowl conversation on social media over the past few days. The spot itself is a touch meh, but the idea at least is cute.
Adbrands Social Media 16th Jan 2019: "The Nightclub". Mother's latest for Ikea in the UK is not perhaps the agency's best work for the brand, but still better than much of the competition. To promote the retailer's beds and mattresses, Mother takes the idea of a nightclub at face value as a place not to stay awake but to go to sleep in the company of like-minded individuals. There are some cute gags along the way: the cereal bar, toast kebabs and milky tea cocktails, but this feels more like the enhanced record of what was presumably an experiential event than a fully scripted commercial. We still have fond memories of Mother's beds-in-the-sky ad for Ikea four years ago with Prospero's closing monologue from The Tempest as the voiceover.
Adbrands Weekly Update 15th Nov 2018: Ads Of The Week: "Chicken's Here To Stay". Seems even KFC gets its own special Christmas spot this year. Actually, we have no complaints, because this film from Mother is just great, with a funny idea and gorgeous photography, although we suspect that the star of the film comes almost entirely from a computer rather than a coop. For what it's worth, it's also another bold throwdown against customers who would prefer not to make a direct connection between those breadcrumbed pieces in a box and the living creature whence they originate. Two years ago, Mother's debut campaign for KFC generated almost 500 complaints for featuring a strutting live bird. Many complaints suggested the ad was "disrespectful" of chickens. You can't really make the same argument this time, because this chicken is clearly one bad son of a hen. There's a reason it's not called Kentucky Fried Turkey.
Adbrands Weekly Update 25th Oct 2018: Satellite broadcaster Sky named Mother as its new lead creative agency in the UK, taking over from WCRS, which will continue to manage mobile and broadband services. Brothers & Sisters stays on the roster for creative projects. That's a major gain for Mother: Sky was the UK's top-spending advertiser in 2017, ahead even of Procter & Gamble. Another, rather smaller win for Mother this week is UK shoe retailer Dune.
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