Make a name for yourself

I once owned a business called Milk Moustache. (Branded Communications since quarter past two). It was 1991 and I had left my job as creative director at Young & Rubicam in a huff and decided to do my own thing for a while. I needed a business bank account so I needed a business entity. The only name that I ever considered was Milk Moustache. It had no significance, other than conjuring up a feeling of warmth and comfort - or maybe innocence. The internet did not exist so it was not motivated by the 'startup' craze of mad business names developed to create memorable a URL (RedCactus, BlueTuna etc).

I was able to conjure up some business, my former client, Allied Liquor Merchants gave me a premium, boutique beer project, the Foundation for the Blind wanted help to promote Braille Day. There were others but 91 was so long a go I forget. It was a fun time. Metro magazine named me Auckland's 'Hot' Creative Director in their 10th anniversay review of what was 'hot'. The reality was probably that I was not. But it did no harm to awareness of Milk Moustache.

I ran a full page ad in the trade listing magazine (agencies and clients) featuring an image of the Mona Lisa cropped tight. Alvin Pankhurst, the award winning uber-realist painter, painted a milk moustache on her. The headline said: Put your name on everybody's lips. I had post rationalised the name with a spot of post modernist appropriation. I don't remember ever receiving a call from the ad, except from advertising people wanting to come work for Milk Moustache.

Once I was cornered at an industry function by an older gentleman who had one too many glasses of wine, or at least one more than me, he was outraged for some reason that I had the temerity to name my company Milk Moustache. He had spent his life trying to get the business community to take advertising seriously.
"Don't you think Milk Moustache is a silly name?..."
"What and Wight Collins Rutherford Scott Mathews Marcantonio isn't a silly name?" I replied "And, besides, if I had a receptionist it would be easier to say when the phone rang."

The business did quite nicely, making money, winning awards and providing me the sort of freewheeling lifestyle I prefer. At the Axis awards that year (whose name I have always thought awkward - in a sort of Don't Mention the War-ish way) Saatchi & Saatchi were cleaning up. The crowd at the award presentation dinner were past being uncharitably bored. The evening was becoming a shambles as attendees felt the only proper response was to amplify their alcohol uptake dramatically. When the categories my ads were finalists in were announced (A poster for the foundation for the blind - showing a guide dog - or rather not showing a guide dog, instead it was a blind embossed illustration with the headline 'We See Life Differently and a companion TV commercial "You see a cute puppy...we see a world of possibilities...")...the crowd erupted when the winner wasn't Saatchi & Saatchi. It was pandemonium. During the long walk to the podium I felt like Ceaser returning from some conquest. Never underestimate the power of release from the norm. And never underestimate how much fun it is to hear your name being called after the words "...and the winner is..."

Especially if that name is Milk Moustache.


Popular Posts