When a naming problem becomes your best ally


Users find it difficult to remember whether the brand’s name is MailKimp, NailChimp, JailBlimp, MailShrimp, KalelLimp… These pronunciation errors that give rise to some curious word games played the leading role in the campaign Did you mean MailChimp? The Droga5 agency created an entire universe with nine deliberately absurd actions surrounding these word games, which, with a touch of surrealist humour and very carefully presented aesthetics, finally help us remember the correct name: MailChimp.

When a brand has to a choose a name, in order for it to work and be successful, it must follow seven basic rules: it must be brief, stand out, be easy to pronounce and write, be pleasant, communicate something, be memorable and be innovative.


In the case of MailChimp, it was as if they were only concerned about it being innovative, ignoring the rest of the rules. The name is hard to pronounce, write and remember, and as if that weren’t enough, it also gives rise to confusion. This was demonstrated in 2014 when someone incorrectly pronounced it “MailKimp” on the popular US podcast Serial, a mention that went viral and is still remembered three years later.

Since then, the company specialising in online marketing services has found a serious problem among its users. The issue is that, with 15 million customers around the world now using MailChimp’s services, among them everything from e-commerce firms to small businesses, it is no longer possible to turn back and change the brand name.


So what do you do in this situation? Well, you take it in good humour and, above all, take appropriate action in order to turn the situation 180 degrees and make it work in favour of the brand. To do this, MailChimp hired the Droga5 agency. The agency’s creative team had the brilliant idea of making this naming error the perfect excuse to generate a viral campaign around the company that enabled it to remain true to itself, maintaining its creativity and sense of humour at all times.

Droga5 created an ecosystem of nine “additive, artful and playful” experiences, as they explain themselves on their website. These nine actions went under the names MaleCrimp, MailShrimp, KaleLimp, FailChips, VeilHymn, SnailPrimp, JailBlimp, WhaleSynth and NailChamp. In other words, all the names that have mistakenly been used, because what they have in common is that all sound like MailChimp.


The Did you mean MailChimp? campaign was launched in 2017 with three 60-second short films. Each of them was housed on its own landing page: MailShrimp, JailBlimp and KaleLimp. The story behind all of them is utterly absurd and surreal and they soon caught the attention of users online. The success of each of these mini films undoubtedly lay in their narrative and carefully presented aesthetics, produced by Riff Raff

Films and directed by The Sacred Egg.


In addition to these short films, for the occasion Droga5 developed a number of products –each more ridiculous than the next–, also with their own sites: MaleCrimp, a Tumblr for curly hair lovers; NailChamp, a website where you can vote for the best-decorated gel nails; and WhaleSynth, an interactive game that functions as an instrument that synthesises and enables you to compose music using the sounds made by whales in the ocean.


Droga5 also created FailChips, a crisp brand. And another product, SnailPrimp, a snail-based cream. Scrolling down, when you reach the end of these pages you discover that what’s behind this fun and crazy stuff is MailChimp, and you find the following message:

“Officially, of course, we’re MailChimp. But if you couldn’t tell by now, we’re not so concerned with what people call us. We’d much rather show you who we are. Because we believe the best way to build relationships with customers, fans, or anyone else is to be yourself. For us, that means having some fun with our name.

We believe that doing things your way isn’t just easier—it’s also better for business. In fact, that’s why we’re here. Whether you’re looking to up your email game, sell your stuff, or find your people, we’ve got tools that give you the confidence to grow your company in a way that feels right for you”.


To round off the campaign, the VeilHymn video clip was also created in collaboration with the singer Dev Hynes and Brandon Cook. Like in the previous cases, Droga5 created a unique landing page and the video clip was uploaded to the Spotify, iTunes and SoundCloud platforms.

The case of MailChimp is an example of how, when it looks as if everything is against you, with some good humour and creativity anything is possible. At least, that’s what the Droga5 agency managed to do with this multifaceted campaign.

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