Mother is the 2023 MAA Agency of the Year

Earlier this week we said a key criterion for Agency of the Year was creative consistency and that’s why it’s Mother, narrowly ahead of two other strong contenders Leo Burnett and New Commercial Arts.

Mother, already a two-time winner, has had arguably the most consistently creative period in its 27-year history with outstanding work for pretty well all its clients. We listed most of these yesterday, one we didn’t – and maybe its finest hour in 2023 – was Greenpeace.

The film, in the capable directorial hands of Steve McQueen to Christine McVie’s iconic ‘Don’t Stop’ (client and agency clearly fielding the heaviest of guns) nevertheless seems to break all the rules. It goes on and on, seems to have finished and then starts over and ends with a heartfelt demo. It could, as we often say of such purposeful efforts, have been awful. As it is, it’s about as near as adland gets to a work of art, with the most powerful of messages.

That really says it all about Mother, as creative agencies used to say: it’s all about the work.

But Mother is an all-rounder too, when it isn’t saving the world. It’s just as good at the smaller one-offs, with a sense of humour too. As in IKEA’s giant turkey-sized meatball.

Mother global CEO Michael Wall says: “27 years later this recognition from MAA still fills us with enormous pride and energy. It’s testament to the work and people at Mother under the leadership of (partners) Felix Richter, Chris Gallery and Katie Mackay-Sinclair.”

Nobody enjoys being a runner-up but New Commercial Arts and Leo Burnett are both worthy of further mentions.

New Commercial Arts, as we noted, has gone from start-up (in the pandemic) to grown-up in just three years. In this it rivals the success of adam&eve but it’s far from a clone of James Murphy and David Golding’s old agency, with as much emphasis on customer experience as communications. Where it does mirror A&E is its formidable new business performance, pipping Mother at the post for Sainsbury’s among others.

NCA’s time will surely arrive. Now, for all its undoubted achievements, you feel there’s still more to come.

Leo Burnett was the choice of the non-executive member of our panel, a former client. It could hardly have done more in 2023, topping Campaign’s new business league and performing more than creditably for McDonald’s and new client Morrisons, among others. It’s the ultimate safe pair of hands (also with the capacity to surprise) and that’s a big achievement.

Congratulations to all of them.

Tomorrow: international agency, network, holding company and more.

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