40 Strangest Agency Names, and Where They Came From The stories behind the industry's most oddly named shops

Elephants & Ants20 Location: Seattle
Explanation: The name is reportedly a reference to the agency's willingness to work with clients of any size.

Victors & Spoils19 Location: Boulder, Colo.
Explanation: The crowdsourcing agency's brief for a crowdsourced logo included this explanation of the name: "We mean a lot when we say 'Victors'—multiple winners in the crowdsource community with each project. The brands/clients win. We win. The industry wins. Etc. We also mean a lot when we say 'Spoils.' We plan to offer very high prizes for each project. Very good direction from some of the advertising industry's best creative directors. Multiple prizes for contributors—not winner take all. A ranking system for involvement. A winning submission based on the community's opinions. And profit sharing. VictorS indeed."

David & Goliath18 Location: International, based in El Segundo, Calif.
Explanation: Founder David Angelo is the David. The biblical story informs the agency's ethos. From the site: "The brave take on challenges others might walk away from. They don't charge blindly into the fray, but rather arm themselves with intelligence and creativity in order to outwit, outwork, and outlast the opposition."

For Office Use Only17 Location: New York
Explanation: Creative director Anh Tuan Pham sent AdFreak this backstory on the shop he founded: "When I first decided to establish my design business as a corporation I, of course, needed to give it a name and didn't want to use my own. I went through many possibilities but nothing felt right. At the time I had a website that showed my more personal/non-commercial work, and I realized what I needed was a portfolio site that would just show my commercial work only, and from that thought came the name 'For Office Use Only.' It really was somewhat accidental, as it wasn't a name I 'worked' on, it just came to me when I was trying to describe my situation."

Walrus16 Location: New York
Explanation: Our calls to this agency went unanswered. But as you can see from the website, they've embraced the animal quite thoroughly.

Mother15 Location: International, based in London
Explanation: "The name 'Mother' basically came out of a focus group in the general public," co-founder Paul Malmstrom tells AdFreak. "Sixteen different tests were done around a randomly generated set of words, and all groups (except one) settled for 'Mother' as a top contender. The tests showed 'Mother' had pretty positive associations, ranging from 'Nurturing,' 'Familiar' to 'Don't eat with your mouth open.' To the founders this seemed to be great values to base the agency on. Words not rated as high were, for example, 'Wallet,' 'Meager' and 'Clogs,' but a close runner-up was (inexplicably) the word 'Wienerschnitzel.' "

Mistress14 Location: Los Angeles
Explanation: "Our name comes straight out of our positioning," co-founder Christian Jacobsen tells AdFreak. "It's an open admission that we're not just out to marry up with brands looking for an ad maintenance AOR. We exist to reinvigorate brands with fresh perspective and head-turning creative product. If it's as AOR, that's great, but we're also perfectly comfortable with projects if the situation is right and we think both we and the client will have some fun together."

G&M Plumbing13 Location: Redondo Beach, Calif.
Explanation from the site: Glenn Miller and Mickey Taylor "chose the name 'Plumbing' because in the early days they operated solely as a resource for clients who needed strategic and creative help at a moment's notice," says the website. "They saw the agency as the marketing equivalent of a dependable plumber. The project work they did for their clients quickly evolved into long-term marketing partner relationships … but their vision was and still is very simple—to build and maintain a powerful lineup of highly creative, objectives-driven, intensely competitive people who share an enthusiasm for great ideas."

Moosylvania12 Location: St. Louis
Explanation: Founder Norty Cohen tells AdFreak: "In 1962, Jay Ward, who created Rocky and Bullwinkle, had a brilliant idea to tour the U.S. in a van painted up with thematic promotion about the show. At each stop, Jay, his publicist and a character in a Bullwinkle outfit got out and solicited signatures for statehood for Moosylvania. They drove onto the White House lawn in November of that year—and during that tense time (the Cuban Missile Crisis), they jumped out and yelled, 'We demand statehood for Moosylvania.' The guards pulled their guns and told them to go away, and they never achieved statehood. When we were getting ready to form our agency in 2003, we needed statehood for our independent agency and formed Moosylvania. After that, we bought a church and now house 100 people in it—and fondly call it the Embassy of the Republic of Moosylvania."

The Barbarian Group11 Location: New York, Boston, San Francisco
Explanation: Barbarian co-founder Benjamin Palmer emailed AdFreak this summary of how the name came about: "We were having a brainstorming meeting about what to name our company, and a couple of my partners (Keith Butters and Rick Webb) were, I thought, suggesting names for the company and said, 'Barbarians are sooo hard to defeat,' and I was like 'THATS IT.' They were actually talking about the latest version of the game Civilization that had just come out and has some barbarians that are hard to defeat in it, but it seemed like a good name for us."

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