Dr Mumbo

The most ridiculous agency names in adland

When deciding on a clever name for an agency, adland creatives would do well to heed this lesson from way back in 1993.

Prince changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol, which melded the male and female symbols into one glyph.

Aside from having no name, the symbol was also impossible to replicate on a traditional keyboard, forcing Warner Bros to send out a floppy disc to media outlets containing a font with only one symbol: Prince’s new name.

It was a communications nightmare, and stands as a cautionary tale for those trying to get too clever with their names. After all, when clear communications is your job, the worst thing you can do is saddle yourself with a confusing, hard-to-communicate name.


And yet…

It seems almost de rigueur for Australian agencies to launch with the most confusing, ridiculous names possible. Punctuation is indiscriminately used, a backslash or stray apostrophe flung into the mix, capitalisation popping up like an RBT unit, words squashed together as if queuing for pork rolls, and other linguistic crimes that would have Strunk and White spinning in their respective coffins.

Enough is enough. We’ve played your games, and used your naming conventions, even when it means putting a small letter at the start of the sentence – which breaks the very first rule you learn about sentence structure.

Below is a mere sampling of this madness.

Feel free to dob in any oddly-named agencies we may have missed – and please don’t take it to heart – it’s not like we’re taking aim at your children’s names. That’s for another column.

Enjoy the list, and try not to take it too seriously. Love, from all of us at Mu|\/|bR3ll@.



All caps, all one word, and all terms you’ll hear interchangeably yelled at the skate park down the road from your office as a bunch of teens attempt a tricky quarter-pipe entry.


I mean, there’s no stray punctuation or clever homophones, but c’mon now. Mustard? It’s as evocative as… well, mustard. Plus, it completely removes those condiment clients who now avoid you because that would be too obvious and easy.

Hopeful Monsters

This name isn’t the worst, but it’s a rebrand from the far cooler-sounding Magnum and Co. which sounds like an after-hours club that smells of cigars and Brut. Hopeful Monsters sounds like a Muppets spinoff about achieving your dreams, or a bunch of Lady Gaga fans outside a concert trying to buy tickets from scalpers.

We Are Social, We Are Different, We The People, For The People

Aside from being confusing, these agencies all sound vaguely like communist slogans – or like a knock-off Nike brand having a go.

Rifle Agency, The Pistol

These names will either hinder or help expansion into the American market – depending on which clients you have in your sights (pun intended).


I was going to penalise this name for failing the acronym test and using the letter ‘w’ — a three-syllable letter which is rarely shorter to say than the word it is meant to be shortening — but in this case, ‘w’ stands for Wiesendanger, so I can’t touch them for that. However, the use of the backslash, a character only used in coding, as well as the graceless cramming of the city name at the end, puts them firmly into this list.

It could be worse: one of TBWA’s American offices is called TBWA\Chiat\Day, after the big businesses merged in 1995, and TBWA forced Chiat/Day to reverse their forward-slash. The ignominy!


I mean, if you have to tell people…






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