After 21 years of growth across multiple continents and countless iconic ads that still stand the test of time – think Pimms O’Clock, Orange’s star-studded cinema ads or the PG Tips monkey – Mother has remained fiercely independent. Staying true to the principles that set it apart from the beginning, it has since become the UK’s largest independent advertising agency. Starting out in London’s Soho, with Channel 5 as a founding client, its four co-founders (Robert Saville, Stef Calcraft, Mark Waites and Libby Brockhoff) created a flexible, collaborative culture that eschews conventional agency hierarchy.
Now with offices in New York, LA, Shanghai and Singapore, the original London branch has since moved to Shoreditch and comprises a team of around 170 people. Embodying its communal approach, the space is defined by a huge concrete desk (big enough to seat the majority of its workforce) and includes an expansive wall dedicated to framed pictures of the team’s mums. We met up with two of the agency’s partners and longtime team members, executive creative director Ana Balarin and head of strategy Katie Mackay-Sinclair, to find out what it’s like to be taken in under the agency’s wing and create work that balances fun and purpose.