When a silly agency name isn’t so silly

Ann Mack struck a nerve in her article on silly agency names [Art & Commerce, May 12]. Agencies would never think of changing the name of Tide or Toyota. But when it comes to their own names, the sky’s the limit.

The problem begins when agencies put people’s names on their doors. The revolving door for agency principals affects the brand identity of the agency. That’s why we chose “Oasis” rather than our own names. We’ve weathered the loss of a partner and an acquisition by Dentsu. And the name on the door is still Oasis. That’s part of a consistent branding discipline.

Rand Pearsall



New York

Many dinosaur agencies come up with new names to appear younger, hipper or something else that they are not. Some companies, however, actually want to be silly, have fun while doing serious business, and build their own brand—in our case, a youth and entertainment brand. What better way to forge the way for a new brand communications collective than with a name unlike those used by ad agencies that still operate under the old agency model? Our name asks questions, and to us, that’s a good thing. It allows us to explain our approach.

And there are others like us: Mother and Ground Zero, to name just a few. Some founders don’t want their name on the door or a name that is about as creative as a law firm. If you ask me, I’d wonder if putting a person’s name on the door has something to do with ego. It might make sense for small companies, but how many clients actually meet with the founders of large companies on a daily basis? The reality is, there isn’t enough room on any door to represent the large groups of people creating the work. And why should one person—a dead person, in a lot of cases—get all the credit?

Chad Rea

Founder, creative director

86 the onions

Venice, Calif.

I agree that naming an agency out of pure boredom or to be in vogue is absurd. But what about agencies whose names are born out of a solid brand philosophy? (London’s Mother and Amsterdam’s StrawberryFrog are two brilliant examples.) For companies that supposedly hold branding in such high regard, it feels a bit false when they slap their names on the door and head to the golf course. Our name, MadScience, came out of the belief that, in its purest form, marketing is a mad science. If it were an exact science, so many companies wouldn’t be getting it wrong.

By the way, there are still parties with belly dancers, transvestites and tasty steamed hamburgers. You just can’t smoke at them anymore.

Decker Watson


MadScience Creative

New York

What do clients think of PR tools?

As a public relations professional, I was very pleased to see an article on our industry in Adweek [“PR Takes Measure of Its Effectiveness,” May 12]. I very much agree as to the importance of measurement tools to better analyze campaign results—the ones developed by our own agency included.

That said, I believe more can be written about client needs and expectations in terms of measurement. As agency partners, we can advocate for more appropriate barometers for success—not simply ink or airtime—but it all comes down to what the client wants, expects and deems successful. And until the PR function is deemed an integral part of the marketing mix by the client—and not simply a “cheap” tactic tacked onto an existing effort—no measurement tool in the world is going to help us move the industry to a higher level of respect and importance.

Monica Neufang

Director, media relations

Weber Shandwick Southwest

Irving, Texas

Creative résumés can backfire

I came away from Susan Friedman’s “Résumé Rx” [Careers, May 12] with mixed reviews. As an aspiring junior writer who only recently put my book together, I have heard from many people that a “creative” résumé is a bad idea—it can come across as a poor execution and an ill-fated attempt at humor. I recall cringing at a recent student concoction that likened the book to a “meal” of sorts, complete with a recipe-filled résumé and a plastic fork for good measure. I would think it’s more important to let your work speak for itself. I’ve been told the same goes for sending out a shoe for “wanting to get a foot in the door” or FedEx-ing oneself to an agency.

Andrew Gall

Junior copywriter

Williams Labadie


What did the Dixie Chicks expect?

I could blow holes in Wendy Melillo’s entire article [“Whistling Dixie (Chicks),” May 5], but I’ll make it brief. She states: “Speak your mind, publicly defend your principles, and pretty soon you won’t be getting work.” Bullshit. The truth is, if you’re a public figure and you say something stupid, illogical and unpatriotic in a delicate time, you will and should pay for it. The public and corporations have the right to boycott any person who makes a stupid public statement. Maines’ statement was stupid, and she’ll pay. But she is already backpedaling to protect her paychecks. What conviction!

Mark Samuels

Founder, creative director

Samuels Darnall and Associates

Capistrano Beach, Calif.

Send letters to Tim Nudd: E-mail tnudd@adweek.com or fax (646) 654-5365. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.