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Mother NY Makes Some Cuts

Details are vague at this point (our apologies), but sources familiar with the matter have confirmed that Mother made some cuts in its New York office last night. From what we’re hearing, the number ranges from 5-10 percent of staff in NY. As for reasons, thus far we’ve been told that the cuts were due to both a need to restructure and to better serve client needs. Mother New York’s current client roster includes Virgin Mobile, Burger King (though the fast-food giant is now reportedly expanding/shaking up its agency roster) and eMusic.

We’ll keep you posted if and when we get more details about the staff situation.

A Day in the Life of a Summer Intern: Introducing the ‘Tactus’

Well, the outpouring has been great this week in terms of interns sharing their thoughts. Let’s yell TGIF and ring in the weekend with this installment from Mother NY interns Forde Kay and Emily Edelman. We’ve never heard of a “Tactus” before, but let’s find out more from the pair below (and in the video above).

We (Forde Kay and Emily Edelman) are a killer intern-partnership at Mother New York (if we do say so ourselves). We’re on the Experience team, so we spend all day brainstorming ways that clients can earn the media’s attention, rather than buy it through ad spots or billboards. Mother allows us to be creative, fun, clever, smart, beautiful, and crazy. We are also really good at finding things in the kitchen to make amazing snacks. I, Forde, eat anything that’s in front of me really fast, and I’m sure it’s gross to watch and I, Emily, love bread with Nutella spread on it.
When the two of us came to the Mother office, we were blown away by the inspiration the office and the people in the space offered. Yet, as clever and close to perfection as Mother New York is, there was one problem that we noticed.  All around the office are giant boards for tacking up work. This means that there are also tacks everywhere, which have been kept in cereal bowls that litter the floor like land mines. In fact, our research told us that on average, someone trips twice an hour, and there is an average of one hospital visit a day.
Taking action, we decided to fix this problem as a thank you to Mother for their internship opportunity (but mostly to look really good). After many-a-sketch, many-a-trip to Canal Plastics, and many-a-craft supply, Tactus was born.
Tactus is a tack-holding cactus. It is made using 90-degree PVC elbows, decoupaged cactus imagery, and a heavy duty magnet. Tactus turns the office’s I-beams into Suguaro-like Cacti and provides safe, off-the-ground storage for the office’s 3,256 (very accurate guesstimate) currently-unused tacks. The Tacti’s large magnet can also be held above a floor of spilt tacks, easily collecting them.
Not only did we design and produce the twenty Tacti, we also made a video to inform Mother of the office’s new key feature. When Mother employees filtered into work Monday morning, the Tacti were at home on their I-beam-poles, and the video was waiting in everyone’s inboxes.

Do you have a tack problem? Is your agency in trouble? Contact Forde and Emily at Mother New York, and we will provide you with a *sharp* solution.

As for what this internship has been like, we think we can safely say that it’s been the bomb.

Mother London Makes Vaguely Profane T-Shirt to Support Greece

If the London Olympics have been the only news you’ve been following over the last few months, it may surprise you to learn that Greece’s economy has now finally totally collapsed (I think). Yes, the very country that brought us Western philosophy, the yo-yo, and the concept of the Olympics has fallen on rough times what with the worldwide recession that’s been going on for the last few years. The country’s been barely surviving on a series of expansive bailouts from the EU, yet Greece’s pretty terrible government has been using these bailouts to plunge deeper and deeper into debt.

Greece’s fall has been hurting the entire EU of which it is (for now) a part of, as that whole idea of making the Euro most of the continent’s sole currency is looking pretty stupid about now. But, similar to the American repression we’re currently experiencing, most of Greece’s population had little to nothing to do with the mess they’re now a part of, which is terrifying when you consider the country’s healthcare system is also collapsing. So, Mother London has taken it upon themselves to show solidarity with their Grecian brethren by creating t-shirts that say, “Fuck This, I’m Off to Greece.” Well, they don’t quite say that, but it’s strongly implied in a similar way to most graphic tees you see at Urban Outfitters.

Proceeds from sales of the t-shirts from the campaign’s Facebook page will be donated to Doctors of the World, a free-clinic originally set up for migrants that is now “seeing over 80 percent of Greek people.” According to Wikipedia, that’s like 8 million people, which I find a little exaggerated but that’s what the press release is telling me. Also, the press release wants me to note that the clinic has been overwhelmed by parents who can’t afford their children’s booster shots, a phenomena usually only seen in third world countries.

T-shirts are on sale here for £15 ($23.52 ‘merican) from now until the end of the Paralympics in September.


Mother Loses Hershfield to SS+K

It took a few months, but New York/D.C. agency SS+K has finally round a replacement at the CCO position in Bobby Hershfield, who joins after spending the last five-and-a-half years at Mother NY. Hershfield succeeds Kash Sree, who parted ways with SS+K back in March. During his time at Mother, Hershfield served as creative director and eventually GCD on accounts including Target (such as the award-winning “Little Marina” effort), Tanqueray, Sweet ‘n Low and J&J.

In a statement, Hershfield  gushes about both his past and present employers, saying, “Mother is an incredible agency with incredible people, but this simply was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. I’m so impressed with everything SS+K believes in and wants to accomplish, and in a strange way, I feel all roads just sort of led me right here.”

During his career, the now-SS+K CCO/partner spent time on the account side at Chiat\Day before moving over to the creative department and working at the likes W+K and Ogilvy. As for SS+K, the agency’s client roster includes GM, JCPenney, Pfizer and Kraft.

eMusic Turns Pitchfork Music Festival Goers Into Lab Rats

Last weekend, Chicago’s Union Park played host to Pitchfork Music Festival, a three-day concert curated by the venerable indie music publication that featured over 45 bands. Lady Gaga was totally there too for five seconds, but did not perform because she was there to watch music and not to appease the crowd, who in turn angrily demanded that she contribute in some way because you don’t just make surprise appearances at #P4k if you’re Lady Gaga and not follow through in some way like stage-diving during the AraabMuzik set or something.

Anyway, eMusic also made an appearance at the festival, though unlike Lady Gaga’s, Twitter wasn’t freaking out about it and I didn’t Instagram a photo of it. Setting up a giant pod near the dugout of one of Union Park’s fabulous softball fields, eMusic and Mother NY continued their digital “eMusic Investigates” campaign, in which the online music subscription service measures the impact that indie rock has on listeners and their environment.

While I saw the giant pod at the festival, I did not enter it because 1. I was frightened they were going to try to sell me something 2. I was busy watching bands and 3. I don’t enter dark booths without a compelling reason to. However, other festival goers didn’t share my reservations, and they heard bands like A$AP Rocky, Lower Dens and Beach House through headphones. They could have been hearing those bands without headphones during the bands’ sets, but then, how would they know what they’re feeling? eMusic’s study on music and emotion seemed pretty questionable, but the company concluded that basically “different people like things for different reasons.” Science!

Mother London Creatives Play Twitter Ghostwriters

This feels somewhat interesting, though, unless you’re working at Mother London, you can sit your ass on the bench. Here is what we’ve been told is the “Mother London tweet seat,” which lets anyone from the agency commandeer the Twitter account, pick their own themes and get free rein to tweet, and solicit keywords to ghostwrite tweets for Mother folks. Yes, if you are all out of ideas, for this week at least, the creative team of Henrik Düfke and Felipe Montt are here for you, but just hit them up in the morning since we’re on London time here.

IKEA Introduces Interactive ‘Party Proof’ Kitchen

So, you like to have weekly ragers, but you can’t afford all of the damage to your kitchen with each night of revelry? Well, IKEA has the solution for you, and you don’t even need to ask your guests to kindly leave the kitchen and go recline in the living room or something.

With the help of Mother, IKEA has built an online interactive durability test that proves their kitchen appliances don’t fall victim to even the most belligerent guests. A yellow sweater-ed man we will name Bjorn nimbly falls through a kitchen when users drag him to either the left or right of the screen, all the while showcasing IKEA’s “slam tested doors,” “steam and heat tested surfaces” and “stain tested surfaces.”

It would be wrong for IKEA kitchen customers not to encourage your party guests to spray champagne over your kitchen our or attempt to open your dishwasher while it’s running. And, even if you’re slightly worried that your neighbor might seize the opportunity to destroy your house, IKEA promises a 25-year guarantee in the FAKTUM and VÄRDE kitchens. Says Mother director of strategy Jacob Wright, “This online experience balances the need to give people the information they’re looking for with the fun, ‘twinkle in the eye,’ IKEA tone that people love in our broadcast communication. And as a result it sells very hard and builds the brand at the same time.” That reminds us, have fun building this stuff. Credits after the jump.

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Mother + Monkey Puppet Launch the Wooly Actors Guild

Mother NY, I think you need to step up the crazy. Right now, Mother London has you beat in that department.

So, what is the Wooly Actors Guild (WAG) you ask? Well, according to a monkey puppet in the above video, movie studios worldwide have been participating in “woolism,” or prejudice against furry actors. In the online spot, Monkey explains that famous wool actors are being cut out of major films and replaced by, well, people. In fact, parts of Jurassic Park, Scarface, Jaws and Notting Hill were all re-cast with human actors, perpetuating this cycle of discrimination. What does this all mean? Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that Notting Hill is included alongside classic blockbusters.

You see, while only a blip on the United States’ cultural radar, Notting Hill was a gigantic success overseas in Britain. This would imply that while we Americans probably find this WAG thing utterly confusing, the British will think this is hilarious. In fact, Monkey is a beloved commercial character in the UK, best known for being the spokespuppet for ITV Digital, a now-defunct PPV television overseas that folded after four years. While ITV Digital is now long-forgotten, Monkey’s popularity endures. Still confused?

On the WAG’s website, interested parties can sign a petition asking movie studios to give equal rights to wooly actors. Of course, this is a strange, empty gesture. However, web visitors will hopefully click on the big “SHOP” button on the site, where they can purchase Monkey and WAG merchandise. Apparently, Monkey-related merchandise was insanely popular commodity when ITV went off the air in 2002. Proceeds from this merchandise then goes to Comic Relief, a British charity that you may remember from its American spinoff, which started in the 80s.

In other words, Mother wants you to watch this viral video, remember the monkey from a failed British digital TV channel, visit the website, sign a petition and then buy stuff on the web store, which will then go to charity. Do I have this right? I don’t know, send this your friends from across the pond and see if they can make more sense out of it. Credits after the jump.

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eMusic Conducts Scientific Research on Indie Rock

With the rise of Spotify and iTunes’ domination over the paid music industry, we were surprised to learn that online subscription service eMusic is still in operation. But, a clever new digital campaign from Mother NY titled “eMusic Investigates” brought it back to our attention, especially considering the three artists the campaign showcases are some of the best up-and-coming musicians around today.

The three videos in the campaign are positioned as scientific experiments that seek the meaning and impact behind each artist’s latest work. For example, the above short investigates indie folk singer/songwriter Porcelain Raft’s latest album, Strange Weekend, and whether or not the Italian-born artist’s musical interpretation of a bizarre weekend in New York causes bizarre reactions from passerby when played on right around the corner from the iconic Bowery Ballroom. As it turns out, dance parties and heavy makeout sessions occur.

Meanwhile, Grammy award-winning neo-soul crooner Esperanza Spalding is aiming for a decidedly “bigger” sound on her latest album, Radio Music Society. Accordingly, eMusic wanted to see if her new style would still please her fans that are used to listening to Spalding in more intimate settings. The above video plays Spalding’s new single, “Radio Music,” for fans in increasingly smaller places, starting in an empty room and ending in a wacky party that takes place in a full-size bed. See if Frankie Rose‘s new space-themed album, Interstellar, holds up when played to a rocket scientist, twin alien abductees, and a chimp after the jump.

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Tatarka Leaves Mother

It looks like eight years at Mother NY was long enough for Allon Tatarka, who has left the agency to give it a go as a freelancer. The copywriter initially joined Mother from Fallon (as did his partner-in crime/art director Rob Baird) in the spring of 2004 . Tatarka subsequently worked on a host of campaigns for Virgin Mobile (one of the most recent was “Manufacturing Sparah”) as well as Spike TV, Dell, Target and Sour Patch Kids (you might remember this Method Man/SPK music video from last fall).

Tatarka spent seven years in all at Fallon prior to joining Mother, first in the Minneapolis base and then the now-defunct New York office. We’ve been told his last day at Mother was March 9. His former cohort Baird, if you remember, rejoined the agency in June 2010 after a stint at TBWA\Chiat\Day NY.