Samuel Payne / MOTHER LONDON (UK)

Related Projects: Belgrade Design Week Festival 2011

Mother is probably the most awarded UK’s independent advertising agency, and is regarded as one of the most creative and progressive agencies in the world today. In 2009 “Campaign” awarded Mother as the “Agency of the Decade”, previously naming them the “Agency of the Year” several times. At Belgrade Design Week 2011, Mother was represented by its strategist, Samuel Payne, who challenged advertising people to take a deep look at the heritage of their profession, quit avoiding their roots and presenting themselves exclusively as a collective hub of creative individuals who are trying to change the culture.

Mother was founded in London in 1996 by a group of creative, free-thinking individuals sitting around a kitchen table eating lunch. It’s here that the group decided that they were hungry – not for more sandwiches, but to do things differently. They wanted to break free from the shackles of traditional agencies and be 100% independent. To be free to do the best work possible, and not have to answer to any private equity firms, holding companies or indeed any other tentacle of the grotesquely swollen octopus of global capital. Today, Mother is still fiercely independent, but now there are over 500 like-minded people in its family, with offices across London, New York, Los Angeles, Shanghai and the oddly Shoreditch-based continent of South America. All with kitchen tables in them. And all with people sitting around them that come to work every day to make the best work they possibly can.

Mother won countless other international awards, and some of their famous clients include Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Dell, Stella Artois, Boots, Post Office, Schweppes, IKEA, COI (Government anti drugs), PG Tips, Pot Noodle and Amnesty International.

The Belgrade Design Week was the best design conference I have ever enjoyed – the specific spirit of the city in a kind of in between status, the rough tension which can still be felt ten years after the bombs, the pride and the looking for new orientation especially in the young generation – all this is giving the BDW a special flair far away from the current events of the global design circus. In addition the enthusiastic organizational team trying hardly but unsuccessfully to keep the program along the schedules, the informal exchange between the international speakers, the loss of any discipline, the parties on the river … what ever and how ever the interrelations between these aspects are working – it makes the BDW an unique, likeable, inspiring and productive event, I will never forget.