Mother (advertising agency)

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Mother is a creative agency with offices in London, New York and Buenos Aires. Mother is the UK’s largest independent advertising agency. The agency's philosophy is "To make great work, have fun and make a living. Always in that order."


Founded around a London kitchen table in 1996[1] by Mark Waites, Stef Calcraft, Libby Brockhoff, and Robert Saville.[2][3][4][5] Mother has over 400 employees in three continents after Mother New York was founded in 2003, and Madre, based in Buenos Aires launched in 2005.

The agency is known for advertising campaigns from the early Levi’s Odyssey spoof for Lilt,[6] its celebrity-fronted "Goldspot" cinema adverts for Orange,[7] "Here Come The Girls" for Boots[8] and the PG Tips campaign featuring Al and Monkey.[9] The agency has a reputation for campaigns beyond traditional advertising having produced a feature-length film for Eurostar Somers Town,[10] a comedy gala for Amnesty International to celebrate its 50th anniversary[11] and a live fashion spectacular for Target.[12]

Mother has pioneered a creative culture where all employees work directly with clients, including the creative teams. In changing to a corporate employee-valued culture, Mother included open work spaces, casual dress, "self-improvement bonuses", birthdays off and prompt recognition and rewards for good work. Focusing on employee needs generated more awareness of customer needs and services leading to both customer and talent retention. Between 2002 and 2005 revenue tripled. It is the agency of record for many brands including: Coca-Cola, Stella Artois, Beck's, Boots, IKEA, COI (Government anti drugs), PG Tips, Pot Noodle, Amnesty International, HTC, Jacobs Coffee and Acer.


Mother moved to its current offices in London's Shoreditch in 2004, designed by Clive Wilkinson architects.[13] One of the major features of the office is a huge 250-foot (76 m) concrete desk which can seat all the Mother staff.[14]

Mother NY is based in a 36,000-square-foot (3,300 m2) space in Hell’s Kitchen. The building was designed by Steven Sclaroff.


Mother London was named Agency of the Decade in 2009 by Campaign,[15] and has previously won Campaign’s Agency of the Year in 2008, 2002 and 2001. It has won the British Television’s Advertising Awards’ Agency of the Year three times,[16] Marketing magazine’s Agency of the Year and in 2005 the Marketing Services Financial Intelligence declared that Mother was the top best-run, privately owned marketing services agency in the UK, based on financial credentials.[17]

Mother New York was named Advertising Agency of the Year in 2009 by Creativity Magazine[18] and Madre was called “one of the most outstanding Latin American agencies of the year” by AdLatina.

Notable campaigns[edit]

Amnesty International[edit]

Mother were the lead agency and co-executive producers[19] for The Secret Policeman’s Ball for the fiftieth anniversary of Amnesty International. The show took place in the United States for the first time on March 4, 2012 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, and featured a mix of prominent comedians from both Britain and the United States. After a taped introduction by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the live comedy lineup included Jon Stewart, Russell Brand, Eddie Izzard, Ben Stiller, Fred Armisen, Kristen Wiig, David Walliams, Jimmy Carr, Noel Fielding, Matt Berry, Micky Flanagan, Jack Whitehall, Tim Roth, Bill Hader (as Julian Assange), Rex Lee (as Kim Jong-Un), and a cameo appearance by Richard Branson. Liam Neeson also introduced a set from formerly imprisoned Burmese comedian and political activist Zarganar. In between the comedic performances, the music lineup consisted of Mumford & Sons, Reggie Watts, and a concluding set by Coldplay. Additionally, Beavis and Butthead appeared in an animated sequence and former Monty Python members Michael Palin, Eric Idle, and Terry Jones appeared in pre-recorded video segments explaining comedically why they were not there. At several moments in the show, Statler and Waldorf from the Muppets commented on the event and spoke to the performers from one of the balconies. The event was streamed live on Epix, and broadcast on Channel 4 in the UK.

Al and Monkey[edit]

In 2001 Mother created Al and Monkey to promote ITV Digital, a campaign that was named Campaign of the Year by Campaign Magazine in the same year[20] After the closure of the channel, Mother brought the characters back as the face of PG Tips.


In Christmas 2007, Mother created ‘Here come the girls’ for Boots. The award winning campaign[21] has continued and evolved into the current campaign of comedy vignettes.

Coca-Cola 'Move to the Beat'[edit]

Mother were the creative agency that created Coca-Cola’s global campaign ‘Move to the Beat’ for the 2012 Olympic Games.[22] Featuring Mark Ronson and singer Katy B, the campaign features the new Coca-Cola anthem for the Olympic Games ‘Anywhere in the World’ which uses the sounds of music, sport and Coca-Cola to create a unique rhythmic beat. Ronson used innovative recording techniques as he travelled the world to capture the sounds of the Coca-Cola Move to the Beat athletes– five Olympic hopefuls chosen for their sporting prowess and inspirational stories: GB table tennis player Darius Knight; US hurdler David Oliver; Russian sprinter Kseniya Vdovina; Singapore archer Dayyan Jaffar, and Mexican taekwondo martial artist Maria Espinoza. A documentary showing Ronson travelling around the world capturing the sound of sport was aired on Channel 4 in the UK.

Pablo the Drug Mule Dog[edit]

Mother worked with the COI's drugs awareness brief resulting in Mother re-branding the National Drugs Helpline as "FRANK". The FRANK campaign also included the creation of Pablo the Drug Mule Dog voiced by David Mitchell of ‘Mitchell and Webb’. The campaign won the Best of Show award at the IPA Best of Health Awards 2009[23]

Pimms' O'Clock[edit]

Mother created the "Pimm’s O’Clock" series of adverts featuring Harry Fitzgibbon Simms, ambassador for Pimms. Harry’s character is played by Alexander Armstrong from the popular comedy duo Armstrong and Miller.[24]

Orange Gold Spots[edit]

Mother London worked on the Orange Gold spot campaign from 2003 to 2009. Amongst many notable film stars the campaign featured Snoop Dogg, Patrick Swayze, Verne Troyer, Rob Lowe, Rob Schneider and Anjelica Huston.

Stella Artois[edit]

Mother has been the global creative agency for Stella Artois since 2008, working on the main line as well as Stella Artois 4%, Stella Artois Black and Stella Artois Cidre. The work for the brand, set in the 1960s French Riviera has won numerous awards both creatively[25] and strategically.[26] In 2011, Stella Artois were chosen as Advertiser of the Year by Campaign magazine.[27]


In 2010, the seminal 1980s new-wave group DEVO and Warner Bros. Records hired Mother to help rebrand and develop unique content for the band for their first new album in 20 years, Something For Everybody. The campaign revolved around a series of videos and microsites touting the band's desire to create the most commercially viable product through focus group testing, online voting, and even opening a fictional new office called Mother LA in Los Angeles.[28] The campaign culminated in a live streamed listening party, during which the record was played for a room full of cats.[29]

Mother projects[edit]

Mother has developed creative ideas that spread beyond traditional advertising. In 2008, Mother made the feature film Somers Town with Shane Meadows for Eurostar,[30] which won Best British Film at the Edinburgh Film Festival,[31] Best Actor at Tribeca[32] and was the biggest grossing independent British film of 2008.

For Time Out, Mother created four graphic novels called "Four Feet From a Rat" in collaboration with the graphic novel publishers Mam Tor Publishing.[33]

At the 2008 Edinburgh Festival, Mother created a musical for Pot Noodle.[34]

For each World Cup since 1996, Mother has done something to commemorate the tournament. In 1996 they created airfix models of football hooligans, English sushi in 2002,[35] and Ronaldo the diving winker toy[36] in 2006 when England were knocked out of the quarter finals by Portugal. In 2010 Mother journeyed to East London in South Africa to play a football tournament against local teams.[37]

Mother has also created other one-off projects, including a series of uncarriable carrier bags,[38] a loser's sticker book[39] to commemorate the English football team failing to qualify for the Euro 2008 championships and an honest spam Christmas email - in which one of the recipients could win £10,000. The winner ended up donating the money to charity and the video telling the story[40] won a silver lion at Cannes in 2010[41]

For Christmas 2011, Mother launched Psychic Tees,[42] a website selling 100 T-shirts with fortunes from Hollywood psychic Lucinda Clare printed on them. People bought their tee based on a number, and the shirt and their fortune was delivered. Every penny went to Age UK and £10,000 was raised.


The partners of Mother are Robert Saville, Mark Waites, Stef Calcraft, Andy Medd and Matt Clark. [43] Saville, Waites, and Calcraft are founding members, along with fourth co-founder Libby Brockhoff, who has since left the company.[44][45][46]

The founding partners of Mother New York are Andrew Deitchman, Linus Karlsson (no longer at Mother), Paul Malmstrom and Rob DeFlorio (no longer at Mother). In 2010, Michael Ian Kaye, Pernilla Ammann and Tom Webster were made partners of Mother New York and in 2012, Angelina Vieira Barocas was also made a partner of Mother New York.[47]

External links[edit]


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  9. ^ "Claire Beale on Advertising: Unmissable telly? Yes, it's the PG Tips monkey". The Independent. London. 2008-12-22. 
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  15. ^ 10 December 2009, 03:55am (2009-12-10). "Advertising in the noughties - Advertising agency of the decade - Mother London - advertising news - Campaign". Retrieved 2010-08-09. 
  16. ^ Matt Bailey (2011-10-18). "IMD Award – Mother". Retrieved 2012-01-27. 
  17. ^ Bold, Ben (2005-09-06). "Mother proves it is more than just a creative hotshop to top financial league - Brand Republic News". Retrieved 2010-08-09. 
  18. ^ "Agency of the Year 2009 - Features". Creativity Online. 2010-08-02. Retrieved 2010-08-09. 
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  20. ^ Campaign, 11 January 2002, 12:00PM (2002-01-11). "TOP PERFORMERS OF 2001: Mother is Agency of the Year on the back of fantastic creative work and an enviable new-business record but Bartle Bogle Hegarty ran it a very close second - Brand Republic News". Retrieved 2010-08-09. 
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  23. ^ "Awards for Mother Advertising and Langland". Pharmafocus. August 16, 2009. 
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  28. ^ "Brand It. Brand It Good. Devo Crowdsources Its New Look". Fast Company. Retrieved 20 March 2013. 
  29. ^ "DEVO Hosts Cat Listening Party For New Album". Laughing Squid. Retrieved 20 March 2013. 
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  31. ^ Child, Ben (2008-06-30). "Shane Meadows' Somers Town takes top Edinburgh award". The Guardian. London. 
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  33. ^ Sweney, Mark (2008-10-30). "Boris Johnson battles Ken Livingstone in comic strip in Time Out magazine". The Guardian. London. 
  34. ^ Mark Sweney (2008-07-21). "Pot Noodle: The Musical set for Edinburgh Fringe Festival | Culture |". London: Guardian. Retrieved 2010-08-09. 
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  37. ^ "Mother's Footie Camp in East London, South Africa, Latest News, News". Retrieved 2012-01-27. 
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  41. ^ "IPA agencies roar with pride at Cannes". Retrieved 2012-01-27. 
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