NEW YORK (JTA) — Grey Global Group, one of the largest advertising agencies in the world, was founded in New York in 1917 by two Jewish men. But due to the widespread anti-Semitism of their time, Lawrence Valenstein and Arthur Fatt decided to name the agency Grey Studios, after the color of the office wallpaper, in order to avoid losing business.
Now, Grey’s London office is honoring its founders by changing its name to Valenstein & Fatt for 100 days.
As of Monday, Grey London’s signage, business cards and stationary all reflect the new name. It will answer its phones as Valenstein & Fatt and operate under the name in official business scenarios, according to Adweek. The office and company social media pages feature photos of its Jewish founders.
Today, Grey becomes Valenstein&Fatt. We’ve done what our founders couldn’t: put their names on our door. Here’s why: https://t.co/LS2qKTrMd7pic.twitter.com/PHJgWCI8V0— Valenstein & Fatt (@GreyLondon) March 28, 2017
The change is part of a larger Grey-wide initiative to promote diversity in its own agency and across the advertising industry. According to its website, the company will publish its own diversity data, work with schools to promote careers in the creative industries, launch an industry task force on diversity and pay for rent for up to two underprivileged people offered jobs at Grey.
Josefin Dolsten is a former news fellow at the Forward, writing about politics and culture, and editing the Sisterhood blog. She received an MA in Jewish Studies and Comparative Religion from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a BA in Government from Cornell University. Follow her on Twitter at @josefindolsten .