If you’re an ad agency trying to earn money by selling brands to the public – old-fashioned, but true – then it’s rather important to brand yourself in a convincing and reasonable way.
Sales promotion agency Billington Cartmell, now seemingly helmed by non-executive chairman Rupert Howell (I know) is relaunching itself as a creative agency with the name HeyHuman (the logo, left, seems to be a dog). Here’s what Rupert told Campaign: “”Following my appointment last year, we have been working hard to create an agency for the future.
“We have spent 12 months modernising and digitising the agency, we have invested in key creative hires and, working with a very talented team, we have now based the agency around the simple belief that successful brands are ‘human brands’.”
Hmm. How can brands, or the business of promoting and selling them, not be a human one? The company may have needed a new moniker – Billington and Cartmell have cleared off following a management buy-in – although Procter & Gamble still gets by pretty well in the (corporeal) absence of Mr Procter and Mr Gamble.
But HeyHuman? C’mon guys. London, and no doubt other ad capitals, is awash with daft and meaningless agency names. We had, briefly, Dave Dye and Hugh Baillies’s start-up Hello People. There’s an obvious gag here which we’ll forego. We still have Johnny Fearless and Lean Mean Fighting Machine (which, for some reason, I find especially annoying). New York offers Barton F. Graf 9000. Imagine a client going into a meeting and telling the CEO and CFO he’s just hired Barton F Graf 9000?
You can see why agencies wanted to get away from endless streams of initials – but these are still surely preferable. If you do well, of course, names cease to matter. In another industry consider Carphone Warehouse. Mobiles haven’t traded as carphones for nearly 30 years. But it doesn’t matter.
We wish HeyHuman well of course. Imagine going into a meeting and saying “hey, I’ve just appointed HeyHuman…”