Mother gif

the showcase 2023

Continuing to make their children proud: Mother's 2023

Mother's always been defined by consistently high creative standards - this year that excellence continued

By creative salon

So how do you follow a wonderfully successful 2022? Well, if you're Mother you take it up a notch in 2023. The creative agency’s year was packed with work that certainly lived-up to Mother's promise to 'make our children proud'.

A plethora of innovative campaigns for the likes of Uber, KFC and Reese’s and a raft of positive promotions speak to the fruitful year Mother has had. The purposeful campaign for War Child and the creation of welcoming ‘Friendly faces’ sticker packs for Ukrainian children also embodied the power and purpose of Mother’s creativity.

Once more, the agency’s ‘Pitch it Forward scheme’ - which gives back to young people searching for careers in exchange for brands skipping the pitch process - saw success in helping the agency win the business of both Jägermeister and M&S Clothing.

We caught up with Mother London managing director Katie Elliott to explore the agency's 2023 and, below, Creative Salon also gives its two-pence on Mother’s year.

Katie Elliott, managing director at Mother London, on the agency's 2023

What three words would you use to describe 2023?

Successful. Fun. Long.

Talk us through some of your agency’s highlights this year?

When it came to work, we got back to basics and focused on one thing: creativity. Across every client and the entire year, searingly simple, brilliantly effective ideas were the order of the day. Our work for longstanding clients like Uber, KFC and IKEA went from strength to strength, and we made an impact with newer ones - like making Reese’s the UK’s most followed UK choc brand on TikTok, or exposing the hidden relationship between big oil and high street banks for Make My Money Matter.

By growing Mother, we made good on our ‘Pitch It Forward’ pledge, bringing in M&S Clothing and Home, and Jägermeister as new clients without the full creative pitch. These two were highlights, alongside new clients from more traditional new business routes - like Dow Jones/WSJ, Kraken, Reese’s and many more.

All of our retained clients stayed with Mother.

As an agency, we were recognised by a fair few of our peers as amongst the best in the business, including the D&AD President’s Award, Adage’s Purpose-led Agency of the Year, and the only UK agency listed in Ad Week’s International AOTY shortlist. Just last week, MAA rated us as their UK Agency of the Year.

Our staff churn rate is less than half the IPA average, and for those that do leave us, lots go and do something entirely different. We had a lot of promotions from within, people like Emma, Anna, Kirsty, Kathryn and Martin - plus Tom Bender and Alex Morris-Platt who joined from outside - all into leadership roles.

Nobody on the Mother leadership team left us.

Finally, in a year when many of our peers have sold out, we remain and always will remain independent. This helps us focus on the things that matter - making the best work we possibly can and having fun whilst doing that.

What one thing are you proudest of this year?

Our work. Across all clients. Throughout the entire year.

And what’s been your biggest challenge?

We increasingly deal in a project-based world, which brings both advantages and disadvantages. The biggest balancing act is making sure we can create the right time and headspace for teams to make the work great, whilst not overloading them, and keep the doors open for new opportunities.

What are you most looking forward to in 2024?

More of the same. It’s exciting.

And what one change would you most like to see in our industry next year?

More great examples of Pitching it Forward and tangible commitments to positive pitch initiatives.

Creative Salon on Mother London’s 2023

If you want to understand more about Mother's culture, then the ‘Pitch it Forward’ scheme is a good place to start. It not only sparked a conversation around the hardships of pitching in 2022 but also pledged to support young people entering the advertising industry. In 2023, the scheme came to fruition, bringing in the business of both Jägermeister and M&S Clothing. The latter’s Christmas campaign (and Mother’s first piece of work for the brand) went against the grain by tearing up Christmas traditions and setting its own fashionable path.

Mother's creative is led by agency partner Felix Richter and the agency's work easily breasted its own high bar of excellence this year, with ads like Ikea’s ‘Show off your savvy’ exemplifying the agency’s fresh perspective on winning consumer attention.

Mother's portfolio of work for Uber included Disney+ co-branded campaigns, the promotion of the brand’s reserve, Eats, train and grocery offerings, and notably a striking creative that highlighted the moment Muslim people could break their fast together at sunset during the Ramadan period. The surprising and charming Uber One ad that saw Robert De Niro and Asa Butterfield form an unlikely friendship was another creative high note.

Mother’s work with KFC continued to innovate and impress, with ‘Do the deal of a lunchtime’ and ‘Teriyaki Burger’ campaigns tapping into humour and a younger audience. KFC Delivery landing a sponsorship deal with Sky Sports also proved to be a landmark moment for the brand and agency.

Mother’s short film featuring Kit Harington and Rose Leslie for Make My Money Matter, and its campaigns for Fluus (‘About Fluusing time’) and Greenpeace (‘Don’t stop’) also showcased the ways in which Mother can step beyond advertising and work to change perceptions surrounding wider issues in society. It's a wider purpose that has always marked Mother out, well before 'purpose' became an expected industry norm; it's baked right through Mother's DNA.

As well as these highlights, 2023 was also a year of nurturing and gaining talent for Mother. The agency began the year by hiring nine creatives from a plethora of agencies: Ali Milne, Paloma Gardiner, Jay Daniells, Will Lancaster, Julie Matheny, Ivan Montebello, Matt Bladin, Jack Willoughby and Serhan Asim. Internally, Mother promoted James Sellick to creative director, Martin Rose to ECD, Anna Murray and Emma Davenport to chief production officers and Kathryn Jubrail and Kirsty Minns to partners of its Design faction.

The agency has always had the best bench of creative talent in the business. And the bench got bigger in 2023.

Creative Salon says: Mother and the innovative teams led and inspired by partners Chris Gallery, Katie Mackay-Sinclair and Felix Richter can be hugely proud of the impressive diversity and quality of work the agency produced in 2023. And of course the phenomenal Robert Saville is still the beating heart of the business.

Properly innovative campaigns like ‘Iftar coming’ for Uber Eats and ‘LullaBombs’ for War Child also raised an impressively high bar even higher. The ‘Pitch it Forward’ scheme proved to be successful in not only winning Mother new business but galvanising the wider industry.

But perhaps the most important thing about Mother's 2023 is that Mother just kept on being Mother - setting the cultural, creative, effective and purpose high bars that help the whole industry do better. Expect at least more of the same in 2024 and (if you're not up against them in a pitch) give thanks.


LinkedIn iconx

Your Privacy

We use cookies to give you the best online experience. Please let us know if you agree to all of these cookies.