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Culture and the multinational advertising agency: the rise and fall of Mojo-MDA, 1964-1991

Robert Crawford (School of Media and Communication, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia)

Journal of Historical Research in Marketing

ISSN: 1755-750X

Article publication date: 9 July 2019

Issue publication date: 8 April 2020

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to trace the emergence, rise and eventual fall of Mojo-MDA. Established as a creative consultancy in 1975, Mojo embarked on an ambitious growth strategy that would see it emerge as Australia’s first multinational agency. By examining the agency’s trajectory over the 1970s and 1980s, this paper revisits the story of an Australian agency with boundless confidence to develop a more nuanced understanding of the dynamic role played by corporate culture in the agency's fortunes.

Design/methodology/approach

This study uses reports and features published in the Australian advertising trade press, along with other first-hand accounts, including oral history interviews and personal correspondence with former agency staff.

Findings

By identifying the forces and influences affecting Mojo-MDA’s outlook and operations, this paper demonstrates the important yet paradoxical role that corporate culture plays in both building and undermining an agency’s ambitions and the need for marketing historians to pay closer attention to it.

Originality/value

This examination of an agency’s inner machinations over an extended period presents a unique perspective of the ways that advertising agencies operate, as well as the forces that drive and impede them, at both national and global levels. The Mojo-MDA story also illustrates the need for marketing and business historians to pay close attention to corporate culture and the different ways that it affects marketing business and practices.

Keywords

Citation

Crawford, R. (2020), "Culture and the multinational advertising agency: the rise and fall of Mojo-MDA, 1964-1991", Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, Vol. 12 No. 1, pp. 151-172. https://doi.org/10.1108/JHRM-10-2018-0048

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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