February 6th, 2015

Qumulo’s Getting Loads of Attention Over…Nothing?

Nah. It’s definitely something. Something HUGE. We just can’t tell you what it is. What we can tell you is that we’ve been working with startup Qumulo over the past year to brand their upcoming software product. And very soon, they’ll be introducing a revolutionary new approach to enterprise storage. And this is the delightfully cryptic teaser site we created for them. Now we’re gonna have to kill you. Sorry.

 

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Qumulo recently received $40 million in funding, and the press is all atwitter about it—Forbes, Fortune, WSJ, GigaOm, TechCrunch, and more. Pretty impressive, considering the product hasn’t even launched yet. Keep up the mystery, guys. You make the CIA look like Perez Hilton.

 

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January 21st, 2015

Mortar’s Work. Spread the News, or Pour Some Booze?

When you go to museums it usually involves learning about something or someone else. The Exploratorium’s new Science of Sharing exhibits are something completely different. You actually learn about yourself. Will you like what you learn about “you”?

Ponder that, people.

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Do you act for the common good, or your own good?

 

Over the past few months, we partnered with the Exploratorium to promote the exhibits to the entire Bay area. But first we had to learn everything we could about The Science of Sharing. We were taught that similar to chemistry and physics, there’s also a science behind human thought and behavior. The Science of Sharing exhibits take societal challenges—like trust, cooperation and competition—and turns them into fun, problem-solving activities and experiences.

During our concept phase, lightning struck. The aim of the exhibits is to generate discussion and provoke thought around why we do the things we do, right? So why not create ads that do just that? Get Bay Area residents to ponder their behavior right in their native environment.

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This billboard was placed at the 101/80 ramp in San Francisco, a hotbed for road rage.

From bus shelters to digital billboards to coffee sleeves, we sure got people pondering. The units even featured a hashtag (#SocialDilemma) so they could weigh in on why they do the things they do. But we went way beyond just ads. We also made the discussion mobile by taking over San Francisco MUNI trains and turning them into “Conversation Cars.”

 

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Our Conversation Cars turned passengers into ponderers.

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Each Conversation Car posed questions that were relevant to a rider’s experience and got people contemplating while commuting. Do you put your bags on the seat, or at your feet? Should you just sit there, or is it okay to start talking to strangers? Is MUNI a call-free zone, or do you blab loudly and incessantly on your phone during the entire trip, annoying riders that are even three cars away? (Not that we’re judging.)

We also posed San Francisco denizens with perhaps one of the most pressing dilemmas of our times…especially in a city where the dogs outnumber the children.

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We created quite a movement.

A guerrilla-style marketing attack in the form of hundreds of pieces of fake dog poop scattered in San Francisco parks and on city streets was launched last week. Each “land mine” featured a sign asking passers-by if they’d clean up after their dogs if no one was around. The stunt was so attention-grabbing that our plastic poop propaganda pieces became collector’s items as people scooped them up and carried them home.

Also running are the following radio spots we produced for Pandora. There’s no judgment here.

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Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 

 

 

 

 

The Science of Sharing exhibits are open now at the Exploratorium, so head over to Pier 15 and get baffled by your own behavior.

And the next time you’re merging onto the Bay Bridge, eating a curry dish on BART, or taking Fido out to do his business, don’t be surprised if you hear a little voice in your head asking, “Why do you do what you do?”

(For those keeping score, the answer to the question in the headline of this post is: BOTH.)

 

January 8th, 2015

Crank the Badass Up to 11.

Our newest art director Katie Steward has only been at Mortar a month, and she’s already showing us up in the BAMF department. A mural she created just went up 1069 Oak Street, behind the Kelly-Moore Paints building at Oak and Divisadero.

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The colorful piece, which depicts a disfigured dancer, is meant to capture the way dancing can feel for the performer, rather than the audience. Yup, Katie’s also a dancer with 20 years of modern and ballet under her belt. Crank that badass to 12.

Katie spent two months bringing the 12×16-foot mural to life in her garage before putting it on display. We gotta admit, it’s refreshing to hear about something other than a startup coming out of a garage these days. Read more about her sweet project here.