Mojo MotherRussia: A promise to shake advertising industry

A new name, Mojo MotherRussia, has entered South Africa’s advertising and communication space, all wrapped up with what looks like a promise to be a giant killing venture that stands to benefit the lamentable transformation trends of the industry.

Mojo MotherRussia is a result of a merger between two medium sized agencies, 76 MotherRussia and Morrisjones. The two companies announced the merger last week in a move that creates a broader talent and client base.

A statement released by the merged formation noted that MotherRussia brings into the merger a portfolio of clients that includes big corporate names. These include Selati Sugar, the Government Employees Pension Fund, Pernord Ricard, SABC and Rand Refinery. While Morrisjones’ comes a client list that includes Debonnairs Pizza, Avios, Mugg & Bean and Nestle.

MotherRussia exploded into the mainstream advertising industry in 2009, obviously promising to relive the aggression of the once mighty Russian led federation, the USSR. The group of young black advertising professionals certainly needed nothing less given the tight dominance of the local advertising market by global giants. Industry observers had pointed out that this dominance has hampered meaningful transformation. The rigidity of the market structure has propelled a group of independent black operators to organise a lobby group titled the Association of Black Communications Practitioners (ABCoP).

MotherRussia could be seen as part of a movement by black advertising practitioners to find expression outside the globalised local giants. It features individuals who have made their marks inside big agencies. These include Thando Dingaan, who now takes on the role of Managing Director at Mojo MotherRussia. Dingaan is well known in the advertising world and came to MotherRussia after serving as MetropolitanRepublic’s founding Managing Director (see link below for Dingaan’s profile and the rest of the team).

“When the opportunity presented itself to acquire a credible establishment with an amazing track-record, it was a no-brainer. This will catapult the whole group into the next level, making us a serious industry force to be reckoned with,” said Dingaan. He added “In the short-term, it will allow two reputed independent agencies to combine their strengths for a fuller client offering. However, in the longer-term, we want to grow our African footprint – to start a truly African network that serves the continent, whilst ensuring that skills and profits are retained here and not sent offshore.”

MotherRussia also boasts the formidable talents of Festus Masekwameng, who takes the role of Executive Creative Director in the merged entity. Melusi Tshabalala becomes Executive Creative Director and Kholiwe Sinuma becomes Head of Design & Art Direction. Nina Morris, from who came as CEO of Morrisjones keeps her title in the merged entity.

Morris said “In terms of having the qualities of an ideal partnership, 76 MotherRussia tick all the boxes”.

“Over and above their creative achievements over a short space of time, the 76MotherRussia team has demonstrated a unique understanding of the industry and incredible business acumen (having won some business against even bigger, more established agencies). They’re also really just a cool bunch of guys”.

The merging companies said the new entity allow them to offer a wide range range of disciplines including: 360º marketing, creative, strategy, brand engagement, social media management, activations, events and digital marketing.

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