And another Swede enters the building. Nicke Bergstrom, one of the co-founders and creative director of the much decorated Swedish digital agency Farfar, has found a new home at Mother New York. Bergstrom will have the title of creative director, joining fellow Swedish talents Executive Creative Directors Linus Karlsson and Paul Malmstrom, who founded Mother New York with Andrew Deitchman and Rob DeFlorio in 2003.
Bergstrom brings with him an enviable creative—and digital—pedigree. In 2000 he co-founded the Stockholm-based Farfar, which, oddly enough, means "grandfather" in Swedish. The agency has garnered international acclaim for its groundbreaking digital and integrated campaigns. Among its accolades are the 2007 Cyber Grand Prix, for Diesel's "Heidies 15 MB of Fame," a 24-7 live online experience that followed an unsuspecting nice guy's kidnapping by two women clad in nothing but Diesel underwear, and another Cyber Big Cat for Milko's Music Machine, which allowed visitors to make their own music videos starring the Milko cow—earned within a year of Farfar's founding.
At Farfar, Bergstrom helped to promote an agency culture centered on creating integrated and digital campaigns so compelling that they didn't need bought media to be seen. Such is also evident in more recent efforts like The World's Biggest Signpost, for Nokia, a giant, remote-controlled arrow over central London. The arrow would change directions to point to various favorite places, which Nokia users would input on a dedicated site. The agency also staged a huge used underwear drop off for former President George Bush at the White House gates for fashion client Bjorn Borg, in the name of world peace.
Bjorn Borg's Underwear for World Peace
Bergstrom, 36, studied advertising in Sweden and in the U.S. and prior to founding Farfar worked in the brand creative group at MTV—coincidentally, he was there the same time Linus and Paul came out with the celebrated Jukka Brothers campaign out of Fallon, Minneapolis. His return to New York comes after he believes he's achieved just about everything he could at Farfar. "We've accomplished even more than I thought would be possible," he says. "And after ten years, maybe it's good to do something else. I want to be scared instead of safe. I'm really sure the guys at Farfar will continue to do good work and I think it's good to get some change and have other people come up [in the company]. This is too good for me not to do."
Bergstrom brings his digital expertise to an agency that has been steadily integrating different disciplines into its model. Outside of advertising, Mother, New York is now home to groups focused on design, brand experience and Mother Productions, the latter which works with client NBC Local Media on new content ideas for the local arena. Those various groups in the last year alone have launched efforts that traipse beyond expected bounds of advertising—from secret lunch events featuring celebrity chef David Chang for NBC Locals Only, Times Square billboards that were turned into consumer products for Target and even concert promotions for big name pop stars like Britney Spears.
Nevertheless, "we haven't really had people dedicated to interactive and digital," says ECD Paul Malmstrom. "From now on, we really want to be experts in that field too. We've been thinking about amazing people who can cross the lines, and Nicke is one of the few who thinks in modern ways, but also understands the other [traditional] spaces too."
Bergstrom won't be part of a dedicated group, but will be fully integrated into the agency. "We want to create a structure where all the people are very close to the tools that normally you don't usually have," says ECD Linus Karlsson. "We just want to build a really interesting company. All the bits and pieces of the puzzle are now going to come together in a really interesting way."