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Why Did They Do That?

Production Agency
London, UK
INFLUENCER: Gary Szabo on giving Tag Collective Arts a name that means exactly what it says

So, it’s 20th December 2019, I’ve just had the traditional few beers with my workmates, about to sign off for Christmas and three weeks with the family.

“See you next year! I have a feeling it’s going to be a great one…”

Fast forward three months and I’m sat on a plastic chair, my buttocks numbing, shoulders aching, kids complaining they can’t watch telly because Dad is in the living room (it’s where the Wi-Fi enters the house, strongest signal and my only portal to the outside world). What the f**k happened and, more importantly, what are we going to do about it?

There then followed weeks of calls, Zooms, spreadsheets, crying, worrying and all the other emotions everyone else also went through. After the initial panic we started to get back to things other than short-term stuff. In our next board meeting, we re-visited the idea of merging all our existing and acquired production houses. It was something we had been discussing for ages but as the acquisition strategy of our new owners was still going on, it was just something that we would have to get around to eventually. Then it was mooted that if we could press ahead with this now then we could come out of this awful situation re-energised, with a new identity and renewed purpose. Hopefully, this would give our people a positive boost to focus on to help get them through the uncertainty out there and give clients a bit of positive news amidst all the doom and gloom.

One of our problems for a long time had been that you may not consider Tag for high end post-production, yet Smoke and Mirrors and Big Buoy were stacked and regularly winning awards. You perhaps wouldn’t consider Tag for music composition, yet our guys have delivered work for Fanta, Toyota and Lurpak this year already. Can Tag shoot content? Why not ask W+K, The&Partnership, adam&eve or Karmarama who have all used our production company this year. Equally, Smoke and Mirrors was not known for digital innovation, yet Tag’s team have been responsible for some ground-breaking work designing DCO platforms and building creative templates. So the credentials were never the problem, but perception was. 

Another problem was that we were providing all these specialist creative services in isolation of each other. Agility is so important in this market and we had to get slick with our thinking of how our clients could benefit from being offered more.

Our experience is that brands are increasingly looking for end-to-end services, yet creative agencies are more focussed on providing brilliant creative specialisms within that process, so we wanted to continue all these relationships and not water down any part of the offering. Agencies and brands are equally important in our client priorities. We had to make sure we could give everyone what they wanted. In order to communicate this, we decided all these specialisms need a separate – but clearly linked – identity to the main Tag brand. 

So, if any of you have ever had a child or even started a band with your mates at school, you’ll know that naming something is the hardest part. This is not a binary part of the process, it’s very subjective. I cannot mention some of the names that came out of the first round of iterations (unless I have a beer in my hand then I definitely will), but suffice it to say a hairdresser in Romford in 1984 wouldn’t even use them.

However, you have to go through that process to get to the eureka moment when you hear the ideal name for the first time. The name that means exactly what it says.

So, Tag Collective Arts it is. 

I have to say, I’m pretty chuffed with everything we’ve achieved, especially in the current climate. So much so, I can’t wait to sign off 2020 with a beer with my colleagues and say “See you in 2021. I have a feeling it’s going to be a great one…”

Gary Szabo is chief creative officer, Tag

Work from Tag
VFX Reel 2024
Smoke & Mirrors
Sports Reel
The Gate Films
EWAFE Launch