By Alan Coleman on 22 Jul 2019
Wolfgang Bites: Watch - How Did Wolfgang Get Its Name?
Wolfgang Bites: Read - How Did Wolfgang Get Its Name?
People often ask how Wolfgang got its name; and I'm always really curious to hear people's opinions as to where it came from. Most frequently put forward thoughts would be along the lines of, "Oh, are you named after Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart?". Yes, he's a genius in art and science, but no, he wasn't the inspiration for the name.
Another option that gets offered is “it's a German name and the Germans are known for being very efficient. They have their ‘Vorsprung Durch Technik’ phrase. Is that where the name came from?” Yes, I love all those allusions, but no, that's not the inspiration for the name.Some people even ask, "Is it something to do with the Get Along Gang?" I'm a child of the '80s, so that was a cartoon that I watched. Montgomery Moose was a hero of mine, but no, that's not the inspiration. Well, not consciously the inspiration for Wolfgang Digital.
What Wolfgang was Originally Called
We used to be called Online Advertising.ie. That's what you did in 2007. You called yourself what you did and you were ranked top of Google. Unfortunately, we never got one client from someone who had sat down and searched for online advertising and came to our website. If you're searching for a generic term like online advertising, you actually don't know what you want. Once the business started growing and we were developing a profile, I realised that I needed a brand, not a generic term.
I wrestled with this for about a year. I found it really difficult to come up with a brand. I tortured myself. It was back at a time when I had hair and I was literally pulling my hair out. I had awful names. I had names like Chatterbox Marketing. I'd some version of Big Mouth Marketing. I even had Fat Cop Advertising. I'd gone as far as getting a logo done for a big New York City Fat Cop advertiser directing traffic. Like awful, terrible names.
As I say, this was becoming increasingly stressful for me and after about 12 months, I said, "I need to bite the bullet." I can remember, literally remember, on the train on the way to work, saying, "I just need to get a name." When I was walking in to the office that morning pulling my hair out, I noticed our goldfish bowl was empty. "Where's Wolfgang?" I said. I had a look in the bowl and I couldn't see him anywhere. We were subletting from an ad agency at the time and I immediately thought they had something to do with it. I ran upstairs and I said, "Have you guys kidnapped our goldfish in some sort of a practical joke?" and they said, "No, we haven't kidnapped your goldfish and you guys are so weird”...and they were right.
I went back downstairs, fished around the area of the goldfish bowl and there was poor Wolfgang. He'd jumped out of the bowl and flipped onto the ground and killed himself. This was very sad, but what I took from it was that Wolfgang was literally offering himself up to be the name of the agency. When I was thinking of a name for a Goldfish, I just chose Wolfgang because it was the coolest fecking name I could think of. But when I had all the other layers of anxiety around a brand, I was just paralysed.
In that moment, it was very sad. We gave him a good burial. He's actually buried in the front garden of that other agency's office. We called the agency Wolfgang Digital from that day on. We're now on Wolfgang the fifth. So I'm sad to say we're not really famous for being great at keeping goldfish alive. Thankfully, we have a little bit of a better reputation for digital marketing.