"Why does Ebola get such a bad rap? I think we can use its transmissibility as a symbol of our marketing prowess."
That's what I imagine the masterminds behind the Kiev, Ukraine-based agency Ebola Communications told themselves when they landed on the name of their shop. It certainly stands out.
Unfortunately, one can take a viral marketing metaphor too far. Even more unfortunately, Ebola -- the deadly disease, not the six-year-old social and digital agency -- has erupted across various West African nations this year, killing some 2,000 people so far, according to the World Health Organization, and igniting a global epidemic leading to travel restrictions to regions where the virus is rampant.
Asked how clients are responding to the shop's name in the face of the outbreak, which has surpassed all previous Ebola incidents combined, Ebola's CEO Yaroslav Korets responded via email:
"We took the name of Ebola virus, because it is widely considered to be the most dangerous and spreading rapidly virus in the world. Our idea was successful. Thanks to very fast and efficient projects, our agency quickly strengthened in the Ukrainian Internet marketing. Today, our name is well known among Ukrainian and European advertisers. The range of Ebola's activities has increased over time. In recent years, Ebola has focused on work with advertising agencies as a digital contractor. Ebola Communications' key expertise is web production, including mobile production."
He added that the Ebola outbreak has not affected the agency's business, with the exception being "the message «SOS» from an African" on the shop's Facebook page.