Creative agency forced to change name through no fault of its own

This Washington, DC–based advertising agency had to rebrand after bad luck and a bizarre coincidence. Here's how it took lemons and turned them into lemonade.

When you've got an established name, you really don't want to change it. After years of doing first-class work and building a great reputation, why would you want to jettison all that with an unnecessary name change? Unfortunately, it is something you absolutely have to do, often through no fault of your own.

Case in point: independent advertising agency January Third is rebranding to This January. If you haven't yet guessed why, then read on.

Insurrection and irony

The independent advertising agency was founded by two long-time collaborators in Washington, DC, back in January 2020. The partners named the company January Third, after the sense of optimism that comes with the start of a new year. That in itself was a little ironic, given what 2020 ended up throwing at us. But in retrospect, the agency's name would prove even more troublesome.

They couldn't have known it at the time. But exactly one year and three days later, as thousands attacked the US Capitol building on 6 January 2021, the name suddenly implied something a little less wholesome. The date in question was slightly different, but the connotations remained.

"It was just absurdly unlucky," explains Maggie Winters, partner and executive creative director. "We had a flourishing new creative agency and a name which, to us, felt like a fresh start. And then the insurrection happened."

There was an additional layer of irony. Despite its location, the creative agency – which produces advertising for consumer brands such as Lufthansa Airlines, Nike, Revature and The Motley Fool – had always avoided getting involved in politics.

"In DC, it's easy to get sucked into politics and government," says Zach Goodwin, partner and executive creative director. "So we always made a point of not working in this area. And then it came to us in this bizarre, totally unpredictable way."

New beginnings

The agency announced a rebrand to This January with a two-minute film called The Name, which tells the story of their unusual brush with history.

As the film explains, the agency's new name retains the feeling of a new beginning – but without a specific reference to any date. "We've learned our lesson," says Maggie with a laugh.

Now that's all out the way, This January is free to celebrate its achievements as a full-service creative agency specialising in branding, advertising, and digital marketing. In their three short years, they've led advertising for DC tourism, The International Spy Museum and America's wireless companies. Most recently, they won the Lufthansa Airlines USA social account.

"We're excited about the future of This January," says Maggie. "We have incredible client partners and an amazing, wildly talented team. We're thrilled to share our new name, and we're sure that our most interesting days are still ahead."


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