‘People-Powered’ Platform Mofilm Launches First New York Office With Crown Royal as Flagship Client

News comes after pioneer Victors & Spoils closed

Suzanne Spence (l.) and Lee Margolis will lead Mofilm's new U.S. hub. Mofilm

One door closes, and another opens.

Just a week after Havas-owned Victors & Spoils—the Boulder, Colo., agency that helped pioneer a crowdsourced approach to the creative process—shuttered its doors, a U.K. company offering the same model is officially setting up shop in the U.S.

And just like Victors & Spoils, this business is also driven by former Havas global CEO David Jones.

Today, London-Based Mofilm, a self-described “people-powered video content creation network,” announced the launch of a New York office, its first hub in the United States. Diageo’s Crown Royal whiskey brand has signed on to be the office’s first client. Mofilm, which already handles regional work for Diageo in Latin America, India and Africa, will now pick up domestic project work.

Mofilm has maintained a small creator studio in Los Angeles since 2016, but the new location will serve as its U.S. headquarters.

Suzanne Spence, formerly the head of brand partnerships at literary tech startup Wattpad, will lead Mofilm’s North American operations as president of the Americas. Before joining Wattpad, where she oversaw branded content for clients such as Coca-Cola, H&M and AT&T, in January 2016, Spence spent nearly a decade at Google, leading the tech giant’s global mobile-app-publisher product strategy and YouTube team in Canada.

Lee Margolis, who was an was executive creative director at R/GA, carries that title over to Mofilm U.S. The 20-year industry veteran, who has produced campaigns for the NFL, E*Trade, Google and MasterCard, among others, will be charged with overseeing the U.S. hub’s creative development and production process, connecting brands with Mofilm’s network of 10,000 essentially freelance filmmakers and creators.

“Suzanne brings a passion for great content and a belief that in an ever-cluttered attention economy, the winners are going to be those who can truly deliver culturally relevant content,” Mofilm CEO Rebecca Sykes said in a statement. “Lee’s visionary and creative talent will provide a launching pad of collaborative success for our growing pool of filmmakers and brand clients. Together, they will build a strong U.S. presence and empower even more marketers with the type of creative storytelling and diverse voices that are the hallmark of Mofilm’s approach to content.”

Below is a 2017 reel of Mofilm’s client work.

Jones, founder of Mofilm’s New York-based parent company You & Mr. Jones, has not given up on the sometimes-controversial crowdsourcing model since he led Havas’ acquisition of V&S in 2012.

“The best creative people no longer all sit siloed inside advertising agencies,” Jones told Adweek. “In exactly the same way as technology has meant businesses like Uber and Airbnb can allow people to become drivers and hotel owners, it also allows brands to tap into a huge dispersed global community of brilliant content creators. Mofilm’s expansion into New York is further demonstration of the success of their 10-plus years experience deploying this people-powered model to help brands deliver content that’s more authentic, faster and cheaper than traditional models.”

In an earlier interview with Adweek, Jones expressed surprise upon learning that Victors & Spoils had gone out of business but listed Mofilm, along with similar companies like Tongal, Vidmob and Vidsy, as evidence that the “people-powered” approach is anything but dead.

Nicola Heckles, brand director of Crown Royal, praised Mofilm’s “diverse and wide-reaching community of creatives” who have “allowed us to tap into real voices and insights that we wouldn’t have had access to otherwise.”

“We like to work with a mix of different partners who each bring their own creative perspective,” Heckles said. “With Mofilm in particular, we were really looking for local cultural relevance from a diverse group of individual creators.”

Founded in 2007, Mofilm has produced work for brands including Facebook, Airbnb, Nestle and Unilever. The agency said it also recently expanded its partnerships with Pinterest and Snapchat, becoming an accredited member of Pinterest’s Pin Collective, a network of specialized creators, and a Snapchat creative partner.

The expanded Snapchat relationship will allow Mofilm’s in-network filmmakers to “gain insider access and insights into the popular social media platform,” according to an agency representative.

@kitten_mouse lindsay.rittenhouse@adweek.com Lindsay Rittenhouse is a staff writer at Adweek, where she specializes in covering the world of agencies and their clients.
@PatrickCoffee patrick.coffee@adweek.com Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.