The agency naming game

It’s an anomaly. An advertising agency whose trade is to ‘be creative’ quite often has the least creative name possible.

Often sounding like a secret society for admittance to the annual Soggy Biscuit beat off championships, they seem to be law firms masquerading as ad agencies. Break out the cognac and dust off the Chesterfield. Doyle Dane Bernbach / Chiat Day / Singleton, Ogilvy and Mather. They come with 40W light bulbs and the smell of lacquered walnut in the male toilets.

When the mergers started merging, and the buyers started buying, the names became just too damned long to fit on the ledger. Abbot Mead Vickers Batten Co. Barton, Durstine & Osborn became AMV.BBDO

Sometimes the acronyms combined with others surnames to make it even longer. Unsure if they should use acronyms for the whole name, they were content with a hybrid, best of both worlds approach. Normal to adfolk, but sounding like a tropical disease. These nuggets include TBWA Hunt Lacaris and DLKW Lowe and DraftFCB.

As long acronyms are mainly the domain of long standing traditional agencies, the upstarts that came in over the last 20 years had a point to prove. They could be more agile and nimble than the big name folk. And their names reflect this. The shorter the better. However, they also end up in a ridiculous territory. Normally to be a small start up agency you have to pick one word (the less syllables the better): omon, tomato, mother being just a few.

And there you have it. The naming game to be a successful agency. So whereas ad folk don’t even grimace when they hear that adam&eveDDB beat VCCP Blue on a pitch, I’m sure the general person on the street would just be confused.

Which is a bit of a low point considering we’re meant to be in the industry of communicating to others.

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