Infographic: The Taxonomy of Advertising Agency Names

British creatives drill down into naming conventions

Conventional wisdom has it that ad agencies are named in one of two ways. Either the founders go the law-firm route and put their own names on the door (e.g., Goodby, Silverstein & Partners), or they scoff at that stuffy approach and choose something unusual that shows how creative they are (e.g., Wexley School for Girls).

But with the wonderful infographic below, the British creative team of Rob Donaldson and Joe Dennett (aka Rob & Joe) dig a little deeper in exploring ad-agency naming conventions from around the world—presenting the data as though it were biological taxonomy.

Yes, "Founders" is a major category, but it's one of only seven here. The others are "Alpha Numeric," "Inanimate Objects," "Places," "Living Things," "Physical or Metaphysical Attributes" and "Abstract Concepts."

Those major categories branch off into subcategories, which then link to specific agency names. It's great fun to scroll around and see how various agencies link different categories. StrawberryFrog, for example, is where the "Food & Drink" subset of "Inanimate Objects" meets the "Animals" subset of "Living Things." Likewise, Barton F. Graf 9000 is where the "Father's Name" subset of "Founders" meets the "Numbers" subset of "Alpha Numeric."

Almost every agency name you can think of could fit on this chart—even the weirdest ones ever. See the full chart below.

UPDATE: As Andy McMains points out, Deutsch is misplaced here. It should be under Founders > Name > One.

Recommended articles