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Mother... for advertising that works: The Drum editorial team’s best of 2020

Jag-wah, about a displaced jaguar, packs a punch

It’s that time again, when we look back at the agencies, the brands, the organizations, movements and trends that have shaped the past year. In 2020 – a year so many of us would like to forget – our industry of problem solvers proved time and again that they have what it takes to muck in, help out, ask questions, shape cultures and change the world. It is them that we celebrate in our New Year Honors.

When you sit on a trove of ads as extensive as the Creative Works, you get a feel for the agencies that have cadence and consistency in their excellence. So there are no huge surprises in Mother taking another New Year Honor.

The indie agency, founded in London in 1996, now boasts around 500 staff across its home city as well as New York, Los Angeles and Shanghai. It has enjoyed a series of account wins including Doritos, Samsung and Gousto this year, joining the likes of Ikea, KFC, Uber, Bumble and Stella Artois. It’s a lot of big clients for an indie shop to juggle.

Let’s first mark its big hitter, the sequel to the celebrated spot for Greenpeace. Jag-wah, about a displaced jaguar, packs a punch and is a worthy successor to the tale of the humble orangutan.

Cuteness aside, you’ve also got its work for Gousto and Uber Eats. Mother was on the verge on the pandemic food revolution – it had to convince the at-home public to embrace new ways of eating with the shuttering of the hospitality space. (We’ll throw KFC into that category too, although that client takes an honor of its own.) It is evident how hugely sensitive the Mother team was to the concerns and feelings of the locked-down populace. It’s that centrism around those viewing the work that’ll give its cutting-edge.

Creative aside, there’s momentum behind this agency, pandemic or not. It was crowned Effie Agency of the year in 2019 and it’d be hard to bet against the effectiveness of its ads for a second year running. It’s not just emotive films and grand productions, it is advertising that works.

And in an age when we see the top indie agencies swallowed whole by the networks, Mother is going against the grain and is multiplying. There’s confidence in the formula and the foundation.

Earlier this year, it rolled out a new indie offshoot (absolutely wait for this...) called Other. Maybe the other Mother will muscle its way into future honors. With Kyle Harman-Turner (known mostly for Moneysupermarket.com’s ‘Epic strut’ which remains the UK’s most complained about campaign of all time) leading it, we know it isn’t messing around. There will be big campaigns that resonate.

We’ll be celebrating all our favorite things about 2020 on thedrum.com between now and early January. Keep an eye on our New Year Honors hub to read more.

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