No more Draft: adland’s love of acronyms continues as new FCB brand unveiled

DraftFCB is no more, with Carter Murray, the 39-year-old global chief executive of the Interpublic-owned network, announcing this morning that it has changed its name to FCB.  

Bryan Crawford, chairman of FCB Australia and New Zealand, says the agency has long been known colloquially as either Draft or FCB, so it’s not a huge step, but it does signal to the market that it is now one integrated agency, rather than a combination of two agencies that were brought together seven years ago. He says the FCB brand goes back 60 or 70 years in New Zealand (it started off as Charles Haines), but he believes this new brand gives it a renewed sense of energy. 

“There’s a famous quote about logos: when you change them they’re a change of symbol and a symbol of change,” says Crawford. 

While laying into new logos seems to be one of the social media world’s favourite pastimes, he says “it has met with universal approval”. 

“I think a big part of it is internal. We’ve just presented to everyone in New Zealand and Australia and taken them through the logo and what’s behind it, and the reaction has been great … It’s going to take a little bit of time to incorporate that into the business and change all the business cards, but that will be happening over the next few weeks.” 

He says Murray has been looking at a name change since he started six months ago but each local office will be able to maintain its own unique sense of identity, so The Change Agency will remain.  

“That proposition and everything that sits behind it has been a big part of our success in recent years. So there won’t be any changes there, just an evolution.” 

So how does the guy with his name being taken off the signs feel? 

“Howard [Draft] supports the whole thing. He supports the rationale and he understands why it’s being done. And he’s still a big part of the equation [as executive chairman and key advisor to Murray].”

The logo design was done by its office in Lisbon, Portugal, so the New Zealand arm didn’t have anything to do with that, but Crawford says its staff did play an important role in the development of the brand and what it should stand for. And that’s not entirely surprising, given it has been one of the network’s most successful offices, with high rankings in some of the global lists and its first ever Campaign Brief agency of the year award

Crawford says the rankings based on creative product and reputation are fairly one-dimensional measures, but it is held up as an example among the network and Murray has been looking at offices around the world that are performing well—like New Zealand, South Africa, India and its US stronghold Chicago—to figure out how they’ve done it and then try to replicate that in markets where improvements need to be made, like Australia. 

Crawford says FCB also has a long history in the Australian market and, while the Melbourne office closed recently, he says there’s plenty of potential for growth in its Sydney office, which works with Beiersdorf and Mondelez​ and has been filled with a new team. 

“That’s definitely what we want to see happen in markets like that. Now we’ve got a fresh look to go to market with and a reason for people to reevaluate us, hopefully that turns into more pitch opportunities.” 

The release:

Six months after becoming Global CEO of Draftfcb, Carter Murray is changing the agency’s name to FCB (Foote, Cone & Belding).

“Two distinct brands, Draft and FCB, were merged together seven years ago,” said Murray. “The entities have united and now have one seamless offering. It’s time to simplify our brand name as well to reflect our focused identity and direction.”

Specifically, the global network will be called FCB (Foote, Cone & Belding), with an important local element celebrated market-by-market. Typically, each office will add the city in which they operate, for instance, FCB Shanghai, FCB Paris or FCB Chicago, using a diagonal line through the B and the first letter of the local moniker. In some markets we will add the name of an acquired company such as in London, where the office will be FCB Inferno, due to the local equity and relevance of the acquired company. In instances where there is an agency with specific expertise, it will take on that name, as with FCB Health. And, in rare cases, the name of a highly respected creative leader will be used to further enhance the office’s delivery and reputation. That is the situation in New York, where the agency is being renamed FCB Garfinkel.

Starting today, offices will introduce the new brand name with a colorful logo design. It loosely depicts the colors of country flags from around the world, incorporating their local attributes while embodying the strength of our global network. 

Importantly, Howard Draft remains executive chairman and key advisor to Murray. “Howard has been incredibly supportive of me and the direction we are taking the company,” said Murray. “All of the capabilities that made Draft such an industry leader remain essential to the future of FCB, including CRM, analytics, retail and activation. We will continue to invest in and deliver on all of these while ensuring a strong overall creative product.”

Added Murray: “I believe it’s a really great time for FCB. We have terrific talent and some early momentum. There’s a lot of potential here and I’m excited for our future.”

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