What's in a name? John Matejczyk talks M/H VCCP
One hundred percent serious here — these are the names I considered when opening my agency: Mensch, Friend, Schumpeter’s Gale, and Bletchley Park.
Why didn’t we use them?
MH VCCP executive creative director John Mateczjyk discusses the rationale behind his agency name change.
A mensch wouldn’t call oneself a mensch.
Friend was a strong contender, if a bit soft.
Schumpeter was the Austrian economist who developed the concept of creative destruction. He described the gale force of creativity to alter economies, known as “Schumpeter’s Gale” in economic circles. We did give that name to a conference room, and it gets as many head-scratches as you’d expect.
Bletchley Park was where they cracked the Enigma Code in WWII. They did it by recruiting a variety of thinkers across a variety of skills. We like to think of ourselves as cracking brand codes with a similar approach so I liked the fit, but Bletchley doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue.
Ultimately, we went with what had been my email signature, muh-TAY-zik, a phonetic that provoked lots of positive vibes. Why? The agencies I held in high esteem all seemed to have the founders’ names on the door. There’s just something about it. My alma mater, Goodby Silverstein & Partners. Wieden+Kennedy. Crispin Porter Bogusky. Chiat\Day. Droga. Fallon. Martin. Richards. Cliff Freeman. Ogilvy.
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“Matejczyk” certainly wasn’t an option and the phonetic provided some levity. We then brought in the multi-talented and interestingly-spelled CSO Matt Hofherr and were off and running as MUH-TAY-ZIK | HOF-FER. Cumbersome, but just the right amount of wrong we figured. (“MTZHF” still makes us giggle.)
Names of agencies, like the brands we all represent, have feelings attached to them. Seldom this is because of the name itself. It’s because of the work the agency makes.
It’s hard for a company to look in the mirror. I can’t say I know what emotions come with the name MUH-TAY-ZIK | HOF-FER. I hope it conjures imagery of the work we’ve done for Audi, Netflix, Slavery Footprint, SoFi, or even early work for iMeet and Google. I can tell you though, that clients can’t type it, lots of people still can’t say it (“moo-thai-zik”?), and some publications refuse to split the syllables based on AP style.
But none of that is what’s driving our new name, M/H VCCP.
The name change reflects important evolutions in our business, within our own company, and in the industry at large.
From our base in San Francisco, we joined the London-based VCCP Partnership in 2016. Far from joining a holding company, we linked up with like-minded souls across the Atlantic. While we were founded as “professionals in the industry formerly known as advertising,” they had set up to "challenge the bad habits of the industry.”
In the time since, we’ve continued to share our areas of expertise and pitch and win opportunities together. Being in San Francisco, we’ve been on the front edge of emerging platforms and emerging brands, with creative work to match. In London, VCCP has woven incredibly deep strategic work with a creative prowess that has racked up the most enviable new business record in the UK.
We’ve also witnessed a dramatic shift in what clients are looking for in the past couple of years. They need agencies to spin up overnight, but not just on quick marketing trinkets. They need deep resources across strategy development, full-breadth creative capabilities for limitless media platforms, production chops from social feeds to Super Bowl spots, media and analytics, and the ability to make it work together around the globe. Or some combination thereof. Or something else completely.
We now have the speed, agility, and drive of an independent agency, with the deep resources of a global network. That’s what a client needs for a brand to succeed in this hyper-competitive market. That’s how we help brands get chased.
That’s why in North America, we’re now M/H VCCP.
Doubtless, the alphabet soup commentary will come, but the test will be in what we now make for clients. We intend to make great things.
Does this kind of thing work, and work well? I think so. Just ask those folks over at Abbot, Mead, Vickers, Batten, Barton, Durstine, and Osborn.