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.












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.


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.”




Our Conversation Cars turned passengers into ponderers.













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.











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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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.

katie mural


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.

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.

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