Based on the number found on the the periodic table for gold, 79, the new moniker was unveiled at an all-agency meeting late this afternoon. The move ended months of suspense and speculation at the shop formerly known as NewCo.
Chief Creative Officer Dennis Ryan and Executive Vice President and Managing Director Marty Sherrod made the announcement as part of a celebration held in the shop's 33rd-floor conference room. The 120-person unit was launched in September to serve the $400 million PepsiCo food and business account that shifted from Interpublic Group of Cos.' Foote, Cone & Belding Worldwide, Chicago.
Shop with no name
As months passed and the shop still lacked a name, observers and insiders wondered how an organization in the business of creating identities could seemingly struggle over its own for so long.
Early on, the team considered the name Verus, which fell through in trademark negotiations. "When we lost Verus, we concentrated very single-mindedly on gold," said President-CEO
|As it went gold today, NewCo also ended the secrecy of its brand assignments.
Messrs. Ryan and Sherrod led a naming committee of seven that considered hundreds of names relating to the word gold, which "reflected the values, character and nature of our organization," Mr. Williams told AdAge.com.
"We wanted to be associated with the golden rule because that is one of the ways the Quaker [Oats Co.] account was run over time," he said. "We want to be held to a higher standard, a gold standard to reflect the confidence, trust and loyalty between our clients and this agency. We also want to put more gold into our clients pockets."
Brand assignments revealed
The shop also ended the secrecy of its brand assignments, which comprise all six of PepsiCo's food and beverage groups, including Gatorade Thirst Quencher, Quaker Foods oatmeal and cereal products, Frito-Lay's wholesome snack brands, Aquafina bottled water, Tropicana and Dole juices and Pepsi International Functional Beverage brands. Key domestic brands include Propel Fitness Water, Chewy Granola Bar, and Cap 'n Crunch and Life cereals while
International brand teams will be based in offices in New York and work with sibling shop Downtown Partners, which in December also renamed itself from PJ DDB Downtown.
Completing Element 79 Partner's management team are John Fraser, 35, executive vice president and business development director from senior vice president-group management director at FCB; Susie Rashid, 37, executive vice president-chief administration officer from director of human resources at A.T. Kearney.
The bulk of staff came to Omnicom from FCB following an out-of-court settlement between the agency and PepsiCo over Quaker's defection from the shop after FCB's parent, True North Communications, was bought by Interpublic, long aligned with PepsiCo's chief rival, Coca-Cola Co.