Following the resignation of MorrisJones founding partner Angel Jones, black-owned 76 MotherRussia has acquired a 60% stake in the agency, which has been renamed MojoMotherRussia. Jones has decided to devote herself to the Homecoming Revolution, a skills-repatriation organisation that she started in 2003, but has operated under the auspices of MorrisJones.
Nina Morris, who remains at the agency as CEO, says that Jones’s departure made it necessary to redefine the agency while finding the right partners to help move it forward. “The 76 MotherRussia team ticks all the boxes required of an ideal partnership,” she says. “They have a unique understanding of the industry and incredible business acumen.”
The executive team now includes Thando Dingaan as MD, Festus Masekwameng and Melusi Tshabalala as s executive creative directors, and Kholiwe Sinuma as head of design esign and art direction.
The enlarged unit, comprising 38 staff with h combined billings of R45m-R50m, is one of the biggest independent black-owned agencies in the country. 76 MotherRussia’s therRussia’s client portfolio of Selati Sugar, Rand Refinery, y, SABC, GEPF (Government Employee Pension Fund) nd) and Pernod Ricard provides an interesting counterpoint rpoint to MorrisJones clients such as Debonairs Pizza, za, Appletiser, Mugg & Bean and Nestlé.
“We have all acknowledged our histories,” says ays Dingaan. “Putting two agencies together that come from very different places, and trying to find the right cultural fit is not easy. We won’t try to massage the existing culture into a different form, but will find our own culture. We are focused on building brands and delivering results.”
A belief they share is the importance of “employee brand engagement” – the full involvement of all staff in ensuring the success of the business. “Marketers need the whole package of internal and external marketing,” says Masekwameng. This underpins a philosophy that the partners hope to take into other African countries to establish a continental footprint. 76 MotherRussia is a merger of two previous agencies that started on the same day three years ago. MorrisJones opened its doors as M&CSaatchi South Africa in 2001.