Category: Digital Advertising
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 site features thousands of coupons, discounts and cash back offers, with deals at more than 50,000 stores. So not only can you save money on clothes, shoes, plane tickets, toys, computers, and more—you also get cash back on top of that.

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. So 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 about it. And the idea of being 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, 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 younger audience, we made Yulie’s character a bit absurd with a penchant for frantic, gif-like movements. Wrap it all up in a frighteningly catchy song, 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.

Pre-roll video and banners are live on EllenTV.com, NBC.com, Hulu, People.com, RealSimple.com, and more. We’re halfway through the campaign, and results have been phenomenal. Click-through rate is 21% higher than the industry average. Cost-per-response is 10 times lower than the campaign goal. And brand awareness has grown dramatically, based on year-over-year Google searches for ShopAtHome.com branded terms. Which reminds us that the best part of making goals is meeting them. And exceeding them is icing on the fruitcake.

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June 4th, 2014

Exploratorium the for Work Our Out Check.

Over the past few months, we’ve journeyed with the Exploratorium from the strategy phase to creative execution, and man-oh-man what a sweet ride it’s been. The people who work there are so flippin’ smart, we get butterflies when they speak. For those not privy, the Exploratorium is a museum unlike any other museum. Part science, part art, and centered around interactive exhibits, it’s a full-blown cognitive and sensory experience – no matter what age you are.

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The museum recently relocated to Pier 15. Stunning architecture and avant-garde outdoor exhibits draw you before you even step inside. 

As you might predict, the Exploratorium is a haven for families with kids. But on Thursday nights, the museum is open exclusively to adults 18 and over for $10-15, a discount off the regular $25. Basically, you pay less, you’re allowed to drink alcohol while touching everything in sight, and you don’t need to take down a mob of five-year-olds just to see the concave mirror exhibit. It’s clearly a win-win-win.

We knew the Exploratorium wanted to promote their Thursday night events. We also knew that their exhibits play with perception, presenting the world in ways you’ve never seen it before. So we created ads that do just the same. It was almost too easy. (Just kidding. Nothing we do is easy. Except Spoonrocket. That ish off the hook.)

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The posters are currently up at Muni stops, BART stations, as well as thousands of local store and restaurant windows. Also running are the following radio spots on Pandora. We hear Yoda is a huge fan.

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Exploratorium, “Perception Flipped #1”

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.

Exploratorium, “Perception Flipped #2”

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For the optimal viewing experience, continuously rotate your computer screen 180 degrees.

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The next time your Thursday night plan involves Blokus and a 72-ounce Gatorade, haul your rear to Pier 15 instead and experience the transcendent wonder that is the Exploratorium. You really have to see it to understand it. And even then, mystery a still is it.

December 2nd, 2013

Aliens! Ninjas! Pterodactyls! GGU?

Don’t you hate it when you start something, but everything gets in the way of you finishing it? Like when you’re one bite into a mind-blowing panini, and someone yanks you into a meeting about timesheets. Or when you’re trying to write a blogpost, and people keep sending you amazing internetz finds like this. Or this.

Or when you’re on your way to a bachelor’s degree. You commit yourself to earning that all-important piece of paper with Latin scribbles on it. But sometimes, unexpected things derail your quest. There’s no need to get into the details of those things, in the same way we won’t discuss what kept you from attending Sally Jenkins’ slumber party in first grade. All we know is, stuff gets in the way.

Since 2002, Mortar has handled the advertising work for Golden Gate University, a school primarily known for its graduate programs. But this summer, GGU wanted to promote its undergraduate program, which deals with a much more specific audience. These are people who have been out of the college game so long they’ve forgotten how insipid college food can be, not to mention what the word “insipid” means. They’re also blasted with continuing education ads left and right – none of which have been effective. Continue reading

August 29th, 2013

Measuring the Man in Manvertising.

Have y’all seen these recent ads for Sauza? Hmm. Hunky guy with muscles narrating against a kitschy backdrop. Wait, I’ve seen this before! It’s gotta be good, right?

Sauza Tequila, “The Refreshing Lifeguard” (2013) – 670,000 views

Hey! That wasn’t the least bit entertaining. Thanks for making my minute of procrastination totally not worth it.

Sorry – we’re making a point. Ever since W+K’s Old Spice campaign broke the YouTubes with 46 million views, it seems like everyone in the hemisphere has tried to replicate its success. Of course, male ad icons are nothing new, having been a marketing staple since the days of the Marlboro Man and the Brawny lumberjack. (Btw, have you seen Brawny boy’s 21st century makeover? Eesh. Someone should let him know mustaches are in again.)

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August 28th, 2013

Don’t Sweat the Sweaty Stuff.

Remember the folks at miraDry? Of course you do; they’re our most memorable client of all time. They invented a way to significantly reduce underarm sweating. What? We can explain.

There are millions of Americans who experience excessive sweating – 1 in 5 to be exact. So the next time you soak a henley after walking two blocks, don’t assume you’re out of shape. Some people just have overactive sweat glands. And since not many people talk about it, not many people know what to do about it.

A few mediocre solutions exist. Botox works, but you have to go back every few months for it to stay working. Relying on prescription antiperspirants is like plugging a leak with a marshmallow. And surgery is never fun. (Except maybe for Mortaron Ben Klau, who says he loves getting MRIs.)

miraDry is the only non-invasive treatment that produces lasting results. We’re talking an average 82% reduction in underarm sweat. It’s a big deal. But it’s also an admittedly touchy topic to broach.

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