One Agency's So-Far Fruitless Attempt to Give Credit Where Credit Is Due

Fear of Ampersand Thwarts Effort to Spread the Love

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David Baldwin
David Baldwin
I thought I was being clever. Sincere, but clever, when a couple years ago I named my company Baldwin&.

"& what?" many people ask. To which I say, "Exactly."

I mean, it's no secret that we live in a world where creative companies must collaborate and do way more than "ads" if they want to survive, much less succeed.

So for us, that "&" means we'll work collaboratively with anyone and any company, be they a production company, an in-house creative department or even another agency, a supposed competitor. We just don't care. It also means that we do advertising and whatever else we can apply our creativity to in order to make a difference for our clients.

Simple enough, right?

Apparently not. We've been more than a bit surprised by the brick walls we hit sending out work to the media. Not in getting the work seen, but in getting it properly credited. We say the work was created by Baldwin&company&company. Whoever was involved in the creation and production of the work is how we want to credit it. Including the client if they'd like to be in there.

Like the spot we did for the Habitat for Humanity ReStore and sent out credited as Baldwin&TheForgery&PondCreative. Yes, we, Baldwin&, had the original idea, but all three of us produced the spot together. It was a collaborative, team effort.

One prominent ad journalist wrote back: "This name is not viable." I assume he thinks his readers will be confused.

Really? Too long, I get. That name's a long way to go for a roast beef sandwich. Then again, so is TBWA/Chiat/Day. But my sense is that the industry completely gets that we live in the new world of collaboration. Is it such a leap from there to our "&&&"?

Plus, there's the perennial squabble of agencies and digital production companies bumping up against each other for credit. Is it really all that incomprehensible to ditch the whole my-name's-more-important-than-your-name thing and just call it like it is?

We tried it with a Burt's Bees project as well, earlier in the year. Baldwin&Mekanism&Driver. No go there either.

The advice my PR people tell me is to just get along and compromise. Just say, "creative lead agency," "production lead agency" and "audio lead agency." It works, it's clear, but it's a far cry from what we're trying to do here.

Seems to me it's time to move into the new day and call a spade a spade. No one can do it by themselves anymore. And when you partner with great companies to produce extraordinary work, why not credit it honestly and straight forwardly.

We may call it '&' but really, it's just fair.

David Baldwin, lead guitar, Baldwin&, Durham, N.C. One of the most awarded copywriters and creative directors in the business today, Mr. Baldwin is the founder of the newly formed Baldwin&. For the previous five years, he was the chairman of the One Club in New York, the force behind The One Show. Alongside his creative advertising exploits, he is an executive producer for the film "Art & Copy," and was a guitarist/songwriter for the band Pants. The band's CD, "Twice the Snake You Need," can be found on iTunes or
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