A year after backlash, French agency Rosapark has a new name
A year after facing criticism for the similarity of its name to the U.S. Civil Rights icon Rosa Parks, Havas-owned agency Rosapark is rebranding as Rosa Paris, complete with a new logo and employee-focused mission.
"We measured the possible feeling of appropriation that the name of our agency could generate, especially on the American market, and decided to rename the agency Rosa Paris in order to avoid any confusion," founders Jean-Patrick Chiquiar, Gilles Fichteberg and Jean-Francois Sacco said in a statement explaining the changes.
Last year, when speaking to Ad Age, the three—all white men—denied that the similarity of the name was intentional, though they did say it had caused them to reconsider it.
“We are aware of the various comments on social media related to the name Rosapark and we would like to assure you we are taking them very seriously,” they said at the time. “We are sincerely sorry if the name of our agency, which we chose eight years ago, has caused any offense. In the current climate and in light of recent world events, we fully understand why.”
Though the agency was founded in 2012, the issue came to a head after a 2020 tweet from Nathan Young, then-president of 600 & Rising, calling out the agency for its lack of diversity.
Young also admonished Havas for not releasing its internal diversity data, as other holding companies had begun to do. Havas eventually did so the following month, showing that just over 6% of its U.S. employees were Black.
The agency also cites the pandemic as a catalyst for the change. A statement lauds essential workers and reveals new working spaces designed to make it worthwhile for employees to come into the office.
Diversity isn’t listed as motivating factor, but Rosa Paris will work with local ad agencies to recruit a wider array of young people and offer internships to secondary students who may not have a background in advertising.