Type of agency
Number of UK staff
In 2014, Mother won Campaign's Campaign of the Year with a triumph of craft (Ikea "beds"). In 2015, it won the same award with a triumph of populism... Read more
Mother’s birth was the result of an opportunity that seemed too good to miss. Given just two weeks to come up with a campaign for Channel Five’s 1996 launch, GGT’s former joint creative director Robert Saville knew he would need good people around him to pull off such a coup.
After urgent calls to Mark Waites, a creative at McCann Erickson’s Amster Yard in New York; Stef Calcraft, an account director at Bartle Bogle Hegarty; and Libby Brockhoff, a US-born art director at GGT, Mother came into being.
Yet if the agency was born out of opportunism – “We just thought ‘Let’s have a go and see what comes out of it,’” Saville later recalled – Mother has proved to be no flash in the pan.
Quite the reverse. Mother has carved out a reputation as London’s coolest agency, seeing off critics who claimed that the quirky style that was its hallmark would ensure the shop would never get near blue-chip clients and that it was only a matter of time before it was found out.
Such perceptions were only reinforced by the seeming pretentiousness of the founders, who had a policy of never being photographed together unless in disguise.
Three Campaign Agency of the Year titles and a client list that has borne the names of Coca-Cola, Boots, Orange and Ikea, along with established offices in New York and Buenos Aires, have buried any notion that Mother would lack staying power.
What’s more, the agency has left an indelible mark with campaigns that have gone beyond traditional advertising – from a feature film for Eurostar to a musical for Pot Noodle staged at the 2008 Edinburgh Festival.
Along the way, it has not been afraid to take risks and push boundaries –cinema ads for Orange portrayed the clients as morons while its famous Super Noodles campaign presented the product as junk food for slobs.
However, Mother seems unlikely to be tripping down the aisle on the arm of a marcoms supergroup. The partners have always argued that selling Mother would kill it.