Big Al by any other name

Winston Fletcher

I once launched an advertising agency with the snappy name Delaney Fletcher Delaney Slaymaker Bozell. Naturally this appellation was the result of intense negotiation and compromise. Five egos had to be massaged. Mr Delaney (the first), Mr Fletcher, Mr Delaney (the other one), Mr Slaymaker, and the deceased Mr Bozell, who owned the joint, all insisted on having their monikers on the door.

A few evenings later, I was at a private dinner party with a huge client. 'How on earth', the vast one asked the assembled diners rhetorically, 'can agencies have the f'ing cheek to give clients advice about branding when they are so f'ing lousy at it themselves?' Ignorant – or maybe well aware – of my presence, his bigness continued, 'a new agency has just been launched with the most interminable and instantly forgettable list of names imaginable. So forgettable I've already forgotten them. They went something like Delaney, Delaney, Delaney, Butcher, Filcher and Bustle. Plus maybe another Delaney. Can you credit it? And tomorrow I'll get a letter from the morons offering me the benefit of their marketing wisdom.'