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Mother New York to lose Linus Karlsson, turbulence at Anomaly

Mother New York co-founder Linus Karlsson, half of the celebrated ‘The Swedes’ creative duo with partner Paul Malmstrom, is to leave the agency after seven years.

Karlsson, whose award-winning work includes Miller Lite, MTV and Lee Jeans, hasn’t said where he’s going yet but it sounds like a big agency judging from Mother UK founder Robert Saville’s remark that “the industry always seems to turn to Mother when they’re looking for creative leadership.”

Is he going to replace departed ‘creative insurgent’ Alex Bogusky at Crispin Porter? Or take over the creative reins at one of the big marcoms-owned agencies? Make your own list of those.

Also in New York my chum Stuart Smith reports that Anomaly, the trendy comms agency set up by Carl Johnson, is in need of more funds. Not because of its rather uncertain record of holding on to business (it won and then rapidly lost Diesel and the same has happened with a chunk of Sony, although Sony’s always doing this) but through its ‘incubator’ investments in start-up companies.

These include a women’s shaving business, a French restaurant and yet another designer perfume brand so maybe it’s not surprising.

It seems boring to say that agencies should stick to advertising in its various guises but it’s probably true.

Mother isn’t going to keel over and call for the lifeboats just because Karlsson has left, neither, we hope, is Anomaly because of its current travails.

But there comes a time for all ambitious agencies when additional funding is required to keep things ship-shape, salary-matching perhaps in the case of Mother.

The options are usually private equity involvement, an IPO (though this has fallen out of favour somewhat) or rushing into the arms of a marcoms company (a last resort, hopefully).

Here’s what Mother will be missing when Karlsson goes. It’s quite mad and brilliant:

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Alex Bogusky anomaly Carl Johnson Linus Karlsson miller lite mother Paul Malmstrom Robert Saville

About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.
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