Category: San Francisco Ad Agencies
January 17th, 2017

A-ha Moments: What They Are and Why They Matter Now. Our New Website is Here.

Advertising Agency offers A-ha

Careful Mortar watchers (that’d be both of you, so listen up) will have caught the stealthy launch of the new Mortar website on the very last day of 2016.

Now I realize this will come as a shock to the rest of you, but THERE IS A NEW MORTAR WEBSITE! THE BACON IS GONE.

We’ve replaced the pile of pork with a simple insight: most of the time small ideas beat big. And marketers still don’t spend enough time aiming at the emotional impact they want to have on their customers.

Now why would this be?

  1. We forget our job is to amaze and delight. There’s a lot to say about our companies, our products, our vision, and our contribution to the planet. So much that we forget we actually want people to buy our thing. And for that to happen we must first get their attention. The simple pressure of communicating what’s important to us overwhelms our need to prick the needle of delight.
  2. People don’t actually buy ideas until late in the funnel. At first they buy delight. Joy. Fun. Awesome. A client of ours spent hundreds of thousands and months researching why people came to her organization only to find that her customers were looking for fun. Fun? Not an educational experience? Or a new perspective? Or to be a better citizen. Just a plain old great way to kill a few hours and giggle. You see, great marketing promises a result. If you haven’t defined how you want people to react when they hear of you then you are not ready to go to market. (Doubt me? Dig out a recent agency brief and scour it for something resembling the A-ha Moment you want your customers to experience).
  3. Small is easier and simpler than Big. Big is bold. Big is dramatic. Big costs money and time. Big requires hard thinking, consensus, commitment and a willingness to change. Big is thus hard. For most, Big is simply too hard. Small? Small is easy to find. Easy to execute. Easy to change. Easy to replicate. Easy to test and adjust. And Small is not hard on a CEO who changes his mind, like, well, every week. (Which BTW is most of us now.) Nevertheless the right small idea can have immense power (hello Uber, who spun a small app into a revolution in global transportation).

For many of us, the future is about finding and exploiting A-ha Moments. We’ve gathered some of our best A-ha Moments on our new site. Take a look and see if you might benefit from thinking smaller in 2017.

September 22nd, 2015

All the awkwardness of a first date, three times as much booze.

Some geniuses at Ad 2 Denver and Denver Egotist thought it would be funny to put a handful of agencies in a room together, give them beer, and see what happens.

Apparently it’s become something of a hit.

Since comfort zones are places we frequently depart, come get awkward with us as we mill about chatting politely about the weather…. until the third keg.

UP NEXT:

kwl

Kegs With Legs @ Mortar
Date: Thursday, September 24, 2015 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Location: Mortar – 2 Bryant St #210 San Francisco, CA 94105
Register here

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.

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

March 15th, 2013

Mortar Wins an Addy; Receives Awkward Paperweight.

What’s that you say? Our work for Carondelet Health Network won a Gold Addy in the Out-of-Home category? Well, sheesh. We don’t know what to say. Besides a happy, humble thank you. Thank you for this irregularly shaped hunk of Plexiglas that we can’t possibly share among the 17 of us who worked on the campaign. Thank you for filling Jenni and Jonny’s stomachs with free-flowing whiskey, gin, and meatballs at the awards gala. Without your help, there’s no way we could have sat still during that 1.5-hour PowerPoint in a dark room.

45 agencies and individuals submitted nearly 300 entries in this year’s San Francisco competition, and 20 Golds were awarded. We saw a lotta good work in that presentation (though we probably didn’t need to see it three times). Our heartfelt congratulations to all the winners.

Our client Nick at Carondelet was so excited to hear the news, he jumped up and hit “Purchase” on the order of Handerpants that had been idling in his shopping cart for weeks.

handerpants

Truthfully, we have no idea why Nick bought these. Unless you’re a baby octopus, or you want to draw attention by, say, being featured on your agency’s blog, we can’t think of one defensible reason for purchasing this product. We hope you’re happy, Knickerpants.

Beeteedubs: What kind of bully came up with the name “Addy”? Is that a cruel joke, giving people awards while simultaneously implying that their ads are small, inferior, or (God forbid) adorable? Ohh, look at the cute little Addy! Aren’t you a good boy?  

Just kidding. We’re beaming, on the inside and out.

addys_photo

Jenni, Jonny, and Awards Night Emcee. Remember when Jonny was just an overworked, underappreciated intern whom we almost kicked out onto the streets? It’s hard to believe how far he’s come (not to mention what d-bags we were).