School Reports 2018
[Extended edition]


Type of agency & ownership:  Independent creative agency
Nielsen billings 2017: £141m (-8%)
Declared income: £21.7m (2016)
Total accounts at year end: 20
Accounts won: 8 (biggest: KFC)
Accounts lost: 5 (biggest: Walgreens Boots Alliance)
Number of staff: 189 (-6%)
Key personnel: Katie Mackay-Sinclair, partner; Hermeti Balarin, partner; Chris Gallery, partner; Ana Balarin, partner
Star player: Oli Kozlik, head runner

Year in review

Mother turned 21 at the end of 2017, capping a seminal year in which the independent agency handed over leadership to a new generation. Last August, Ana and Hermeti Balarin, Chris Gallery and Katie Mackay-Sinclair became equity partners, the first team to run the agency since its founders. The appointments formalised a change that had been 18 months in the making, but 2017 allowed the quartet to set out their stall.

There were some growing pains. At the beginning of 2017 Mother lost 13-year client Boots to Ogilvy UK, after parent company Walgreens Boots Alliance moved its global creative and media business to WPP. Halfords, Hovis, Unilever’s PG Tips and also left.

The agency didn’t have time to lick its wounds, though. In March it won the hotly contested KFC pitch from 15-year incumbent Bartle Bogle Hegarty. It also picked up meaty work from Vauxhall, Greenpeace, Save the Children, Cereal Partners, Gymbox and Yamaha. And the year ended on a high after Debenhams appointed Mother to help revamp its brand.

Mother expanded its remit with the launch of start-up incubator and accelerator Broody, a stake in VR and AR specialist Dream Reality Interactive, and a partnership in Asia with The Secret Little Agency.

As always, Mother’s bold spirit shone through. It got nostalgic for with Skeletor and He-Man (although it split with the client this year), found some twerking chickens for KFC and continued to dazzle for Ikea. The agency also inflated a giant breast on a Shoreditch rooftop to challenge breastfeeding shame. As its packed 21st birthday party showed, the agency is leaving a strong legacy on the creative scene.

Agency's Year In A Tweet

"We got people talking. Does anything else really matter?"


Score this year: 8
Score last year: 7
How the agency scores itself: 8
Management strength: 9
Creativity: 8
Innovation: 7
New business: 7
Diversity: 7

Business performance and accounts

Gross income

Latest: £21.7m
Previous: £17.9m
Change: 21.10%

Operating profit

Latest: £1.9m
Previous: £2m
Change: -2.90%

List of total accounts Retained:

AB InBev (Stella Artois – global and UK)

Arla (Castello)

CPW (Cheerios, Lion)

Diageo (Baileys, J&B Spain)





Atom Bank



HMD Global (Nokia)





Save The Children


Mondelez (Ritz)

Top three spending accounts:

Ikea (n/s)

KFC (n/s)

Moneysupermarket (n/s)

Number of retained accounts: 8
Number of accounts that are projects: 12
Biggest win: KFC (£35m)
Biggest loss: Walgreens Boots Alliance (n/s)



Haymarket award wins

Campaign Big Awards: 3