November 21st, 2014

Mortar’s On the Hunt for a Media Strategist.

Hey, kids. We’re hiring. Here’s the deets:

Mortar is looking for a natural self-starter to play a critical role with some of our largest and most interesting accounts. Unlike many media positions, where your job is limited to bringing a client’s message to market, at Mortar you’ll be involved much earlier in the process, using your experience and background to shape creative and strategic direction as well as the resulting communications plan. You’ll be part of tight-knit, powerful teams that allow you to take part in creative brainstorms one day, and manage budgets for targeted campaigns the next. Our clients range from world-famous museums to educational institutions to supermodels (and the occasional robot vacuum). We work with a variety of digital partners and vendors, and are looking for someone with a background in both digital and traditional media platforms.

 

Duties & Responsibilities:

  • Bring your media experience and insights to the table as part of high-level strategic planning involving clients and inter-departmental teams
  • Develop strategic media plans based on client and creative concept direction and the use of media research
  • Clearly and persuasively present media plans in written presentations and in face- to-face meetings with peers and clients
  • Partner with clients and internal teams, and synthesize information accurately and efficiently to guide campaign development and execution
  • Absorb many details, while keeping focus of the big picture; prioritize and re- prioritize many tasks at once
  • Activate client needs for digital, print, OOH, TV and radio
  • Manage the flow of client media-related issues based on changes in direction, goals, and budgets
  • Maintain good rapport with sales representatives and vendors; push vendors to work collaboratively and deliver original solutions that fulfill client needs
  • Explore media alternatives thoroughly, and think creatively when recommending media solutions
  • Be an intuitive problem solver and quick thinker
  • Handle all budget- and billing-related tasks
  • Tell jokes on command (just kidding…or are we?)

 

Experience & Skills Required:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • 1-3 years of media planning/buying experience
  • Superior analytical skills with the ability to review data/campaign performance and recommend optimization strategies
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Superb time management skills
  • Must work extremely well in a self-directed environment and be comfortable handling multiple tasks concurrently

 

We think an agency’s health can be measured by just how much laughter can be heard during the day. Enthusiastic candidates should send their resume to iwanttowork@mortaragency.com. Tell us a funny story as part of your response and you’re practically hired.

November 6th, 2014

Did We Just Anthropomorphize a Log? Yes, Yes We Did.

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If you’re the kind of person who ever buys stuff, you’ll want to check out ShopAtHome.com. At any given time, the website features thousands of coupons, discounts and cash back offers, with deals at more than 50,000 stores. So not only do you save money on all the things you already buy—clothes, shoes, plane tickets, toys, computers, and more—you also get cash back on top of that. Best of all, you can shop from your living room (read: wearing pants is up to you).

Despite having a lot to offer, ShopAtHome.com had little brand awareness. They needed an original, distinctive brand personality that would put them on the map. Which is why they asked Mortar to concept their holiday campaign.

The cash back aspect was what made their story interesting. Sure, giving gifts at the holidays is great. But let’s be honest: Everyone also likes getting a little something back for themselves. We had an opportunity to speak to mall-worn shoppers who were constantly getting burned during the holidays, paying full price for gifts and feeling like a dolt later. And the idea of being more selfish was real and honest—a sharp contrast from the usual ad clutter of picture-perfect moms and saccharine Christmas cheer.

But how could we promote the idea of being selfish without coming off as totally greedy? We mulled. We brainstormed. We wassailed. And then, in a quiet manger underneath the Bay Bridge, Yulie the Yuletide Log was born.

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Meet Yulie. He’s excitable, a little bit nervous, and too shy to talk. And ever since Yulie discovered ShopAtHome.com, he’s become an online shopping nut. This holiday he’s been buying insane amounts of gifts for his friends—they have no idea why, but they’re not complaining. Little do they know for every gift Yulie buys, he saves huge and gets cash back. Thanks to ShopAtHome.com, Yulie won’t get burned every holiday: Instead, he’ll make bank.

To bring Yulie’s story to life, and to get it permanently stuck inside the head of every American (no shame—we’re advertisers, after all), we polished our vocal chords and crafted a good old-fashioned jingle.

Our creative intent was to evoke the cozy, nostalgic feel of the Rankin/Bass stop-motion holiday classics, then contrast that with our modern, offbeat character. Since we were targeting a slightly younger audience, we made Yulie’s character somewhat absurd and grounded in frantic, gif-like movements. Wrap it all up in a frighteningly catchy song that lays out the benefits of ShopAtHome.com, and you’ve got a Christmas nondenominational holiday miracle. By making Yulie the selfish, clever, slightly manipulative one, we can all live out those unbecoming-but-oh-so-human qualities through him.

We’re currently pushing full-length, :60, :30, and :15 versions of the video through pre-roll placements on People.com, EllenTV.com, NBC, Hulu, and more. Web banners are concurrently running on sites like InStyle.com, RealSimple.com, and Jezebel.com. All placements drive users to a Yulie-centric landing page that lets you explore the campaign more and learn how to use ShopAtHome.com. (It’s no joke: Our ShopAtHome.com clients used it to buy their flights out here, and got mad cash back. Even in a drought, those guys make it rain).

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The campaign is running through the end of January to catch every last present-returner and regifter. As for the best part of working with ShopAtHome? Their consistent feedback of “Make the voice sound grittier, y’know, a little more DIY?” and “Can you make the video look less professional please?” The last time a client said that to us was…hmm, oh yeah, NEVER. ShopAtHome, you’ve earned yourself a place on Mortar’s “Nice” list.

November 3rd, 2014

Mortar + Tyra Banks: What Happens When Two Badasses Collide.

Tyra Banks is a whole lot more than just the creator of the Smize. She’s the world’s most influential supermodel and super-businesswoman. And when it comes to social media, Tyra is the boss. From fierce-faced selfies to clever quips, Tyra shares with her fans nonstop, and they love every second of it. If you need proof, just scan the daily comments from her 31 million plus followers.

Mortar recently partnered with the superwoman to bring her new cosmetics brand, TYRA beauty, to life. Because one of her core messages is to give people the power to be the CEO of their lives, Tyra developed her business as a direct selling model where the products are sold by independent contractors that she calls ‘Beautytainers.’ And when it came to brand personality, ordinary wouldn’t cut it: she wanted to zag where the beauty industry would zig. If there’s one thing to know about Mortar, it’s that we love to turn ideas on their heads—which made us and Tyra the perfect partners in crime.

Our task was to turn this layered narrative into a cohesive strategy that would captivate the world. Challenge accepted. Turning complex messages into a compelling story is, like, totes our thing. We began by developing a brand mantra that would serve as the TYRA beauty rallying cry:

Beauty. Business. Badassery.

We knew the TYRA beauty brand needed to be as loud and fierce as Tyra herself. And “badassery” was a word that Tyra could truly own—it gave her the power to carve out and own a space in the crowded world of cosmetics. From there, we crafted a crisp positioning statement and a smart, confident tone of voice that would inform every facet of the TYRA beauty brand.

Our work for Tyra sparked a social media shockwave: 292,165 likes, 15,040 comments, and 3,831 shares, for total engagement of 843,164. It even got the attention of major celebs: Alicia Keys, Russell Simmons, Ivanka Trump, and Karlie Kloss, just to name a few. (Yo, Russ, let us know where we should send our hip hop demo tape. We’re basically the next Jay-Z.)

And not surprisingly, we got plenty o’ love from TyTy herself.

Tyra came to us looking for badass, and we brought it. Though we’re still looking to her to help us finesse our booty tooch.