Published on .

It hasn't been easy for ad agencies as they try to reinvent themselves. First we read DDB Needham is disbanding an infomercials unit, reportedly because the expected business bonanza didn't materialize. Then Young & Rubicam says it's setting up a unit to concentrate on, yes, infomercials and electronic retailing.

While almost every day brings an announcement of media giants getting together for some electronic superhighway cruising, agencies once comfortable with the muscle they could apply to the Big 3 networks now wonder what a 500-channel future holds for them.

So is it just coincidence some agencies are rediscovering old truths about the importance of brand name equity? We're talking about their agency's brand name.

Campbell-Mithun expanded to Campbell-Mithun-Esty after a merger, then to CME KHBB after an affiliation with London's KHBB. Now comes awareness that a string of initials lacks identity, so the Campbell-Mithun-Esty name may return.

Likewise, Backer Spielvogel Bates Worldwide (another merger creation) is looking to reposition itself, giving more prominance to "Bates" because the name Ted Bates still has brand equity in other lands.

There's something to be said for names on the door that recall the greats of advertising-J. Walter Thompson, Leo Burnett, Fairfax Cone, Ray Rubicam. Agencies always will be asking clients to put their faith in people, not just marketing plans or systems. No set of initials can match the radiance of illustrious predecessors.

Most Popular
In this article: