Agency names

Two young/new creatives called Rob and Joe sent me this the other day.

I hadn’t really thought about agency names for a while, so looking at that chart reminded me about all the fuss over Mother’s nomenclature. Back in the mid-nineties, when Mother was born, we all had a big laugh at an agency calling itself something other than the names of the founders. What tits these Mother people are! we guffawed as the siren notes of Roll With It wafted through the stench of stale Stella. Obviously since then we’ve stopped laughing at non-name names and embraced them with nary a raised eyebrow, an occurrence that is thanks in no small part to the massive success of the aforementioned Mother.

Now agencies (particularly those started by a couple of digi no-marks whose names mean nothing to anyone other than their immediate family) have fully embraced the opportunity to think of a word that sums them up, or doesn’t sum them up, or sounds nice, or sounds fucking stupid, leaving us with the reverse situation where the trio of names has become a decidedly odd way to top the agency stationery. Look at Adam and Eve, an agency that could quite reasonably been called Priest and the other two whose names I’ve forgotten (Golding, maybe?), but instead they went biblical on our asses and I still don’t know/care why they chose those particular words (why not Sodom and Gomorrah? Cain and Abel? Jesus and Barrabas?), but it’s worked, and there they are shoving poor old Doyle, Dane and Bernbach to the right hand side of the little plaque outside the office.

I can tell you from the one opportunity I had to name an agency that possibly less goes into it than you might have thought. We were given a few days to name what became Lunar BBDO and we went through everything from Cream to The House (an early press release had us named The House before some other company in the world of media told us we couldn’t use it. That’s the real problem: all the good names have been taken. I think Cream had also gone). Lunar was a last minute suggestion that we all liked, then like any good ad agency we post-rationalised the fuck out of it to pretend it was a very deliberate decision (Lunar… tides… change… the influence of the moon… blah blah blah). As time went on we realised it didn’t really matter at all, and as long as you don’t call you place Savile, Glitter and West, no one will really give a shit anyway.

As Jeremy Bullmore has so sagely pointed out on many occasions, things give names meaning, not the other way round. So spend a billionth of a second on the name and the rest of the time on making great work. That way your name will be cool, whatever it is.