Duncan Channon Rebrands, Offers Advice to Anonymous Trolls

By Patrick Coffee 

It’s been a bit since we last heard from San Francisco’s Duncan Channon, which a certain publication named a Small Agency of The Year for 2016. (The agency’s client roster currently includes California Tobacco Control, Ebates, Kona Brewing and John Muir Health, among others.)

But the little shop recently made a series of big changes to its leadership structure and its visual identity: DC has a new logo, a new website, and several new leadership positions.

Specifically: founder and partner Robert Duncan is now chairman; Parker Channon is CMO; former group account directors Jamie Katz and Rachel Hermansader are director of account management and director of marketing and business development, respectively (Hermansader is the first to hold that title); Anne Elisco-Lemme will serve as lead on all creative work as the agency’s only executive creative director.


Here’s a 360-degree image of the new staff lineup that includes one ghost, one bassist, one confused cop and one brown rabbit. You really should just check out the homepage.


We spoke to chief creative officer Michael Lemme, who led the rebrand.

“We’re really putting a stake out there,” Lemme said. “The new logo is human, hand-drawn and quirky … in its messiness, this is the approach we are going to take. We believe that’s needed to break through.”

In other words, Duncan Channon wants to remind potential clients and employees alike that its team is led by real humans who create the work with their imperfect hands. This message is especially relevant as the larger conversation about advertising delves deeper into data, programmatic and assorted buzzwords created to more efficiently deliver migraines to strategists and trade reporters alike.

DuncanChannon-NewSymbol-wine“The effort has been underway for a little bit following conversations going back a year or more,” Lemme said, adding, “It was a good time to step back from the work we had been doing and think about our own brand … is it living up to what we want to be signaling to the world? What kinds of talent do we want to attract?”

The work Duncan Channon does will not change, however; Lemme told us that this new identity is more about the framework than the work itself.

“Before ‘integrated’ was a term, D C was a place that resisted being pigeonholed as any particular kind of agency,” Lemme said, adding, “Parker and Duncan were really all about creativity and storytelling. We are re-emphasizing those aspects as it has been many years since we last rebranded.”

Regarding the new creative leadership, Lemme said, “Anne has become the first singular creative director in the long history of the agency; my role as CCO was somewhat organizational/operational. I will continue to be CD as will Parker and others, but having a single person take responsibility just made sense given her track record and talents. It’s also about having clarity regarding who’s holding which parts. It’s a subtle change but also a pretty substantive one.”

Lemme said that Duncan Channon has continued to produce work for its existing clients as well as winning some new business that he could not yet discuss.

None of that really explains the mask, though.

Finally, as part of its announcement the shop created a spoof video in which an “anonymous detractor” talks a bit of smack about the new logo. We wonder who this clip might be targeting…