In October 2018, Muhtayzik Hoffer ditched the phonetic spelling (Muh-tay-zik Hof-fer) of its founders' tough-to-spell last names—John Matejczyk and Matt Hofherr, who formed the agency in 2008—and rebranded as M/H VCCP.
The decision followed VCCP acquiring the San Francisco-based agency in 2016. At the time, Matejczyk said that the original name was hard for clients to spell, people to pronounce and publications like Ad Age refused to format it to the agency's preferred style of breaking it up by syllable (which is still true today). Matejczyk also said M/H VCCP more clearly communicated its affiliation to its parent.
Well, despite those reasons, Muhtayzik Hoffer is back as Muhtayzik Hoffer (at least in San Francisco; its New York office will be branded as VCCP).
"We changed the name originally because we love our partnership with VCCP and thought M/H VCCP would be better for everyone," Hofherr says, "but clients kept calling us Muhtayzik Hoffer. It was a brand recognition thing."
Hofherr and Matejczyk insist this is not reflective of any internal turmoil between Muhtayzik Hoffer and VCCP.
"Everything is exactly the same," Hofherr says, although he admits "it does kind of feel nice when prospects call us up and we hear the name [Muhtayzik Hoffer] again versus alphabet soup."
Matejczyk had acknowledged at the time of the original rebrand that the agency may be mocked for participating in the growing trend of alphabetizing agency names. (WPP had merged VML and Y&R to become the mouthful VMLY&R a month earlier, which placed it alongside other many-lettered agencies like AMV BBDO and MullenLowe SSP3.)
Matejczyk admits some people at the agency were "a little bummed" with the original rebrand because it carried a "corporate" connotation. "But we did it for all the right reasons and they were excited to be part of something bigger," he adds.
Muhtayzik Hoffer did not publicize its recent name change. The agency instead began simply rebranding its website and other social media accounts back to the original name. That seemingly cryptic move in itself might lead outsiders to think there is something amiss with the shop and its VCCP parent but Hofherr insists that he and Matejczyk just "didn't want it to look look like some big scoop."
Muhtayzik Hoffer continues to work with clients like The American Automobile Association (AAA), Audi and Intel.
The agency was also behind last year's "Runaway Train 25" campaign to help find missing children—created for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the organization behind the original milk carton effort. The campaign featured Soul Asylum’s 1993 pop tune “Runaway Train," and debuted on the 25th anniversary of its release. Matejczyk says the agency is currently working on new work for the "Runaway Train" campaign.