Category: Outrageous Outdoor
May 20th, 2014

A BART Domination, a Billboard Sensation, and a 20-foot-tall Norwegian.

An economic upswing is good for just about everyone. Except for graduate schools, who historically see enrollment go down when job prospects go up. With that top of mind, GGU’s new marketing director was looking to make a big impact this year to reverse that trend. Like, Prince George’s baby kangaroo backpack big.

Uhm…yes, please! All we do is sit around waiting for clients to ask us to go big. GGU’s graduate audience is an ambitious group who are wont to react to energizing, active language that helps them envision their future impact on the world. So we readied an arsenal of powerful headlines, refreshed the design, and proceeded to make our mark on the Embarcadero BART station.















































Whether you’re familiar with the GGU brand or not, know that you’re looking at a lot of firsts here. The layout and imagery are bolder and more contemporary than before. It’s the first time we’ve done location-specific ads for GGU, playing off different areas in the Bart stations. And, it’s the first time we’ve executed a programmatic campaign that calls out specific degrees.




Program-specific ads. Because the more tailored your message, the stronger you’ll resonate with your respective audiences. 


But most notably, it may very well be the first time an agency has launched this many ads at one time. Knowing that volume = impact, GGU chose to flood the Bay Area with 900-odd ads. (There aren’t even that many grocery stores in San Francisco!) In addition to hitting Embarcadero and Powell BART, we placed billboards in the East Bay and posters at Walnut Creek, Lafayette, and Pleasant Hill stations. And that doesn’t include the litany of digital banners that are running. The sheer quantity of work produced is astounding – as is the amount of booze and snacks that was required to keep us alive.

But wait, there’s more! Have you seen the billboard up on Bryant Street between 3rd and 4th? Call an Uber and hightail it over, cause this is huge!


The biggest challenge was finding a Scandinavian woman tall and willing enough to stand up there for an entire month. Don’t worry, we’ll tip her well.

900 ads, a billboard, and a brand that’s more relevant to its audience. If you’re a Bay Area resident who’s even flirting with the idea of maybe, possibly considering a graduate business degree, you’ll now be thinking about GGU. Our work here is done. (We think. Unless those are the footsteps of the account team running to hand us another deliverable. Quick – to the fire escape!)

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

May 13th, 2013

A Whiff of Something Strong.

Have you seen those giant baby fists towering over Highway 101? Who did those billboards, you ask? And where did they find a baby the size of Bigfoot?

Continue reading

July 8th, 2008

Mortar’s Summer Gardening Tips


DEER #1: "I’m feeling a little peckish. Let’s see what’s growing in Todd’s garden."

DEER #2: "Hey, good idea. I bet his tomatoes are coming in right about OH MY GOD! ZOMBIES! RUN!"


Keep your garden pest-free with the Garden Zombie. Only $89.95. Seriously.

Thanks to the big, delicious brains at Boing-Boing for the tip.

June 25th, 2008

“Mom, Why Are The Girls Wearing White And Why Do The Men Have Water Guns?”


From our pals at Deadspin:

A golf team of pre-teen youngsters got a little more than they expected
when they showed up for their junior club golf outing on Monday. Due to
a scheduling "miscommunication" the lucky kids got to share the
clubhouse with the annual Shotgun Willie’s Charity Golf Tournament, an
event sponsored by a Colorado strip club with the same name.

Wacky hijinx ensue.
Oh, and, um, outdoor advertising! Still great!