Agency Brief: Mother NY signs 15-year lease in Brooklyn
The pandemic has caused some agencies to consider ditching their offices in favor of a permanent remote-work arrangement, but not Mother New York. The independent creative agency just signed a 61,000-square-foot, 15-year lease at the Roulston House in Gowanus, Brooklyn, which will serve as its new headquarters. Mother New York was previously headquartered in Hell’s Kitchen and its new office will give it 25,000 square feet of additional space. The Schoen Group of Savitt Partners, a full-service commercial real estate firm, managed the deal. Mother New York is set to move into its new digs on April Fool’s Day 2021 (and no, that's not a joke). Its employees in Los Angeles and New York currently continue to work from home.
Paul Malmstrom, creative chairman and partner at Mother U.S., says the decision to move headquarters was made last year. He says “2019 was great to us” and gave the agency “permission to start thinking of a more ambitious dream for what Mother can be.” In March, Malmstrom says Mother did halt a number of investments to save its people (there have been no layoffs) including placing “a momentary pause on our plans of building a new home.”
“Catastrophes are peculiar,” Malmstrom continues. “Sometimes they give you a gift. In our case, it was the ability to work with the landlord and structure a new deal that ended up making more sense for both parties.”
Peter Ravailhe, CEO and Partner of Mother U.S., adds that when the pandemic hit, Mother “first took a step back and made sure we were being fiscally responsible. So many companies have made decisions about the next 15 years of their physical workplace based on the extremeness of current conditions and mindsets. The last six months have given us real insight towards reimagining the creative environment of the future that blends work-from-home with the energy and inspiration of having a creative destination for our people."
Roulston House is currently owned by ICP and Aurora Capital Associates. It was a central warehouse and headquarters for the Roulston Company, a grocery chain, from 1910 to 1951, according to Schoen Group. The firms says the building, Renaissance Revival in style, features large floor plates with high ceilings, creating an abundance of natural light, exposed brick walls and multiple roof decks and outdoor areas. Joseph Hamway, principal of ICP, says “We meticulously transformed a 200,000-square-foot, century old timber warehouse into a modern day creative office space while still retaining its authenticity and charm.”
Duke’s Mayo tops increased media investment with first agency of record
Duke’s Mayonnaise, a popular 103-year-old Southern brand, appointed The Richards Group as its first creative agency of record. Tom Barbitta, chief marketing officer for Duke’s parent company Sauer Brands, tells Ad Age that the decision to hire an AOR comes as the brand looks to increase its marketing investments and bolster its presence “deeper in the south and adjacent markets.” Prior to The Richards Group, Barbitta says Duke’s worked with several local agencies in the Richmond, Virginia area where Sauer is based on a project-basis. He says the appointment of The Richards Group followed a review that involved “some of the best names in the industry.” Barbitta notes that what impressed the company about The Richards Group, in part, was its independence as well as its “tenured” employees who “understood the brand and the backstory” of Duke’s.
Duke’s Mayonnaise was first created by Eugenia Duke, a woman who sold her sandwiches with her signature mayo, known for having a tangy taste, to soldiers stationed near Greenville, South Carolina. In 1929, she sold her recipes to C.F. Sauer, who opened the first Duke’s Mayonnaise factory in Greenville. Today, Duke’s sells tartar sauce and sandwich relish alongside its mayo, still made according to Eugenia Duke’s original recipe.
Barbitta says Duke’s is “an interesting brand with a great backstory” that he’s eager to tell through a new creative approach. He says The Richards Group is currently working on a new campaign that he expects to be “very exciting for the category and for the people who love Duke’s.” He declined to share more details. In June, Duke’s Mayonnaise announced a multi-year partnership with Charlotte Sports Foundation to host an early-season college football game (Duke’s Mayo Classic) and postseason bowl game (Duke’s Mayo Bowl). The company says The Richards Group will help activate the new campaign “in the context of college football and the Charlotte Sports Foundation partnership.”
“Duke’s has had a loyal following for over 100 years,” adds Dale Hruby, The Richards Group principal. “We look forward to helping them grow that fan base.”
S4 continues ‘merger’ streak
S4 Capital, the “new age, era” digital advertising and marketing company founded by Executive Chairman Martin Sorrell, announced another “merger.” The company said it has entered into a deal to merge Brightblue Consulting, a U.K.-based data analytics and measurement consultancy, with MightyHive, the data and digital media practice it bought (ahem, "merged" with, as company executives will be quick to correct) in 2018. S4 says the deal, terms of which were not disclosed, will add “deep probabilistic attribution expertise” to MightyHive and its “rapidly growing team.”
Brightblue was founded in 2012 by CEO Michael Cross to “help clients grow their sales and profits” and “allow marketers to gain greater insight into their digital audiences.” Cross describes MightyHive’s and Brightblue’s “shared entrepreneurial, results-driven cultures and our joint ambition to distrust the existing industry models" as the "perfect match.”
“Data, particularly first-party data, is at the heart of S4 Capital’s ‘holy trinity’ business model,” Sorrell adds. “Brightblue’s skills in making sense of it and using it to drive profitable growth are a timely addition to our client-focused service offering.”
Meanwhile, Havas Group announced an acquisition of its own this week. The holding company purchased Australian media agency Hyland for an undisclosed sum as part of a plan to “provide a comprehensive and agile offering to new and existing clients” in the region. The agency says Hyland specialists will integrate into Havas Media Group, forming a 100-person team in its Sydney office.
McGarrah Jessee hired Jen Hruska as the Austin, Texas-based agency’s first chief strategy officer. Hruska joins from CPB in Boulder, Colorado, where she was the co-head of strategy and oversaw global accounts American Airlines, Hotel.com and Infiniti luxury automotive. In her new role, McGarrah Jessee says Hruska’s focus will be on “upstream business consulting services, including brand and business strategy, consumer insights, CRM, research and analytics.” She begins in September.
Quantasy + Associates, an integrated brand services agency, has launched a new wellness platform for “mindful resources, educational content and community-building tools shaped by today’s cultural realities.” The platform is called True Voice and emerges with investments from singer Jill Scott and Live Nation Urban President Shawn Gee. The agency says True Voice is “designed to address the full spectrum of cultures, lifestyles and interests” that are left out of existing wellness platforms. It says it will start first by focusing on women of color.
Marcus Thomas, Cleveland independent agency, picked up two new pieces of business: Vitamix and Gold Star Chili. Marcus Thomas was named the lead U.S. marketing communications agency for Vitamix, providing brand development, channel development and support, public relations and social marketing to the blenders maker. Gold Star Chili, a Cincinnati-based restaurant chain, named Marcus Thomas its agency of record to handle paid media and creative strategies.
VaynerMedia, was appointed as the first integrated agency of record for O-1 Glass, the Perrysburg, Ohio-based glass manufacturer. The appointment comes as the company says it “seeks to make glass more relevant to both food and beverage companies and to the end consumer.” VaynerMedia will be responsible for both the creative and media business. The account was awarded to the agency following a review and VaynerMedia says it debuted its first work on social media for the client within 24 hours of winning the business.
AlmapBBDO promoted Antonia Zobaran and Iron Brito to creative directors. The two were art directors for the agency. Zobaran joined the agency last November and was previously working at FCB Brazil. She has worked on accounts including Nivea, Sky and Mondeléz. Brito has been with AlmapBBDO for the past five years and before that spent time at Pereira O’Dell in San Francisco. He has been behind creative projects for clients including Volkswagen, GOL Linhas Aéreas and Cielo.
Lucid Advertising, a full-service agency in Pensacola, Florida, has been named agency of record for Gulf Coast Vision Center, a 48-year-old eye-care company. The agency will be responsible for boosting awareness of the brand through services such as website development, an SEO and content program, direct mail, and social media advertising. Gulf Coast Vision Center joins Lucid’s other healthcare clients including CCI Anesthesia, Dermatology Associates of Plymouth Meeting, Everwell Specialty Pharmacy and Coyle Institute.
Talon Outdoor, an out-of-home specialty agency, promoted Jonathan Conway to chief operating officer and Shabnam Irilian to senior VP and head of business operations in North America. Conway was chief strategy officer and was based in London; he moves to New York to take up the new role. Irilian was international operations director in London and is relocating to San Diego for the new position.