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In an effort to get back to its roots, the Omnicom network unveiled its new visual identity this morning after releasing it internally at its global conference in Miami on Wednesday, with some executives—including DDB Worldwide CEO Wendy Clark—subsequently teasing it out across social media on Thursday.
The new logo is essentially a revamped version of its very first one—two Ds, one yellow and one black, stacked on top of one another with the agency’s full name, Doyle Dane Bernbach (after founders Ned Doyle, Mac Dane and Bill Bernbach), etched into the bottom D.
“Great brands have a foot in their past and a foot in the future,” Clark said. “This visual identity perfectly captures our heritage and legacy, the contemporary thinking and work we’re known for now, and positions us for the future we intend to claim.”
The rebrand comes as the agency celebrates its 70th anniversary. In 1949, Doyle and Bernbach—who had been working at Grey New York together—joined forces with then small agency owner Dane to open Doyle Dane Bernbach in Manhattan. (The networks Doyle Dane Bernbach and Needham Harper merged their worldwide agency operations to become DDB Needham in 1986.)
The trio most notably created award-winning, still-recognizable work for Volkswagen throughout the 1950s and ’60s, including its “Think Small” campaign. Volkswagen went on to become one of DDB’s longest clients but ultimately failed in its attempt to retain the business in the U.S. last year.
“Bernbach was the founder of the creative revolution, and this mark puts creativity right back at the center of our organization,” said DDB North America CCO Ari Weiss. “As many other global networks are doubling down on technology and efficiency, we wanted to double down on humanity and creativity.”
The move, according to the agency, is also in response to recent restructurings that have seen the dismantling of storied agencies. (In other words, it was in response to WPP’s decision to combine legacy creative agencies with digital shops, merging Y&R and VML to form VMLY&R and J. Walter Thompson and Wunderman to form Wunderman Thompson.)
“As other agencies are commoditizing their agency names and turning away from their founding principles and visions, DDB is doubling down on the values that Doyle Dane and Bernbach founded our agency on—creativity and humanity,” a statement from the agency read.
In a video posted to YouTube that opens with a clip of an old interview with the late Bernbach, DDB explains the shift a bit further.
“Everybody talks about change all the time,” Bernbach explained in the video. “I think advertising, the persuasion part of advertising, is going to be the same 100 years from now.”
The agency goes on to say that the “B” represents “a beacon for creativity”—what DDB hopes its logo will symbolize.
“Our new visual identity is contemporary and strategically designed for today’s needs,” said Barry Quinn, chief design officer of DDB North America. “But it purposely retains a strong link to our visual history. It’s much more than a symbol—it’s a canvas for the creativity of the network. We can’t wait to see how that evolves over time.”
The new logo was created by DDB’s North American design team and serves as “a great example of the agency’s design capabilities,” according to DDB, which added that it “will be implemented across all internal and external marketing materials on a rolling basis.”
The agency said the logo will serve as a frame for its various global offices to then “[make into] their own to reflect their work, local geography and clients.”
DDB has won several new accounts in recent months. Most notably, that includes the U.S. Army, but in a legal protest filed with the U.S. government last December, WPP’s Possible claimed that the Omnicom team led by DDB scored that business by lowballing the competition on price. A heavily redacted document listed DDB’s billings over the full 10-year contract at $136 million.