Figliulo&Partners, the full-service indie agency founded by former TBWA chief creative officer Mark Figliulo five years ago today, announced that it will retire its formal, slightly stodgy name in favor of a simpler, more youthful moniker. F&P, together with recently-acquired digital shop Hungry, which was also founded five years ago, will now operate as Fig.
Longtime president Judith Carr-Rodriguez has been promoted to lead Fig as CEO, as Figliulo drops that role, retaining only the title of founder. Figliulo said Carr-Rodriguez will run the agency’s daily operations while he focuses on its product, which they had already been doing before the leadership changes.
“She deserves the title,” Figliulo told Adweek on a recent call that also included Carr-Rodriguez. “It’s the right time for her to take over.” As president, a title she held since the formation of the agency, Carr-Rodriguez has been instrumental in winning new business, generating acquisitions and developing Fig’s media practice, which launched in 2017.
The agency recently hired Nick Van Amburg, former vice president of ad innovation at The New York Times, as head of distribution to oversee the planning efforts of the media practice.
Fig said the rebrand comes at a pivotal moment in the agency’s history as it reimagines its positioning as the “brand agency for the information age.” That includes becoming a fully integrated agency, investing more in technology and finally folding Hungry into its own brand. For two years prior to the acquisition, Fig would oftentimes solicit Hungry to help develop experiences, websites, apps and SEO strategies, all of which are now under Fig’s umbrella.
Carr-Rodriguez said clients have come to think of Hungry and F&P as a package deal, and “in order for us to thrive as the brand agency for the information age, we really wanted to morph” the two identities. Since “we have been representing Hungry” for two years prior to the acquisition, she added, Fig’s leadership did not deem it necessary to preserve its name.
Carr-Rodriguez and Figliulo both insisted everything remains the same operationally. Both agencies have been in the same New York office (the original F&P headquarters) since the merger, where Hungry founder Brady Donnelly and his 12-person team moved. Donnelly will remain in his current role as managing director at Fig.
Carr-Rodriguez said the agency’s clients have been very receptive to the rebrand, with some even asking what took you so long.
Another reason for the rebrand is that Figliulo’s last name is a “ridiculously” hard-to-pronounce title for an agency, according to Carr-Rodriguez, who said clients agreed.
Figliulo admitted that “even as an Italian,” he can see why it doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue.
“We wanted it to be bold and quick and easy to understand,” Figliulo said.
That pertains to its new logo too. The name Fig apears in block lettering among the branches of a ficus bearing the fruit. Figliulo said the logo is also meant to represent the agency’s “comfortable, natural” culture.
Around the same time Van Amburg joined Fig, the agency also added 12 people to its creative department led by Scott Vitrone, who became its first CCO in 2017.
Carr-Rodriguez said Fig is “always looking to expand” but that “there’s nothing more we can say right now.”