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Home » A name change for Harvey as Chapter 11 plays out

A name change for Harvey as Chapter 11 plays out

by | Sep 18, 2023

The Harvey Agency has announced its decision to rebrand itself after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on June 30.

In posts on social media, the Baltimore-based agency revealed its new name: Humble & Wallop. Clients and partners were privy to the news a week earlier, receiving sneak-peek packages containing Humble & Wallop merchandise and a printed announcement.

Matt Square new ownership

Matt McDermott

“Humble is a reminder of how easy it is to get knocked on your ass in this industry,” owner Matt McDermott said in a press release. “Wallop is the commitment to creating work that leaves an impact on the cultural conversation and the client’s bottom line.”

McDermott said that with the new name comes a retooled approach to the agency’s creative process. Adopting elements from Lean UX and Agile development — methods used in the software industry — Humble & Wallop’s new strategy employs three tenets: continual idea iteration, near-daily client collaboration, and direct access to creative team members.

Founded by Kathy Harvey in 1986, the agency’s client roster once included global brands, including Covergirl, Black & Decker, and McCormick & Company. In 2021, Covergirl informed the agency that it would be moving design and production duties to an overseas vendor at the end of the year. With the exit of Harvey’s largest client, the agency’s projected revenues shrank by 85% and profitability by nearly 100%.

McDermott, who purchased the agency in December of 2021, said that in 2022 the agency was able to recover half of the revenue lost with the Covergirl departure with a mix of new and existing business growth and senior talent. But it was unable to turn a continuous profit as it buckled under the weight of legacy expenses and long-term vendor contracts.

In April, McDermott laid off the agency’s staff, and on June 30, Harvey filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The filing opened the door for the agency to renegotiate its financial obligations while focusing more resources and attention on the select group of clients it retained, including Schmidt Baking Company, Vann’s Spices, Lightbridge Academy, and PIVOT Baltimore. New clients came on board, including George Washington University and American Public University.

Pending approval of creditors, McDermott said he is optimistic the agency will emerge from Chapter 11 as early as October.

About the Author

Jeffrey Davis

Jeffrey A. Davis, APR has more than 25 years of news media and national public relations experience and heads J. Davis Public Relations, LLC, a PR and social media consultancy. A three-time PRSA Maryland president, he serves as Maryland regional editor for the Capitol Communicator and is co-founder of Podville Media in D.C. where he co-hosted the "Practically Social" podcast. Jeff is the regional representative of the national Public Relations Consultants Group (PRCG). He began his career as a reporter at daily newspapers in Ohio, New Jersey and at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis.

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