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The story of Five not 10

Updated: Feb 6

By Patrick Southwell:

Naming an agency is a minefield. In fact, when I unveiled Five not 10 to a few mates in the pub to test it with them, they proceeded to rip it to shreds. “So, you’re half as good?” quipped one. “And you’re half the price?” joked another. “And you’ll do half the work?” Laughed the ringleader, who will remain anonymous (Russ. His name is Russ).

So, it’s with trepidation that we reveal it to the world. However, I wasn’t fazed by the chortling, guffawing and ridicule I got in the pub. In fact, it made me think that getting a reaction of any kind was a good thing. We could have gone with the classic Surname & Surname, or something linked to our personalities. But Five not 10 works for us because it does two things.

A white book on a white sheet

Firstly, it begs a question: what does that mean? Secondly, Lynsey, my co-founder, and I can answer that question with absolute clarity and conviction. We both believe that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. We’ve been around the block long enough to know that what clients want is clarity of thought, strong, simple ideas, and great implementation. They want us to cut to the chase and have razor sharp focus.

This is what we kept coming back to as we agonised over a name. Clients want simplicity. Not simplistic ideas, or lazy thinking, but simplicity. Especially in the B2B and tech fields where we’re often trying to communicate complicated themes.

As we sat in Lynsey’s flat on that hot day, we considered other themes like solid outcomes, effective measurement, and a strong digital offering. But these felt transactional when compared to our dedication to something more powerful.

Then it came out of Lynsey’s mouth, “We believe in simplicity. Why say something in 10 words when five will do?” And that was that. We knew we had to do this. We had to go on a battle against complexity as Five not 10.

So, if upon seeing the name of our agency you thought, “What the hell does that mean?” then I’m pleased. Because it’s incited a reaction and given us the opportunity to explain it.

And if you didn’t well, never mind, you can join in with my mates in the pub having a good-natured poke at us – we’re a thick-skinned pair. It’s the work we do that really matters. And we can’t wait to get going.

P.S. Lynsey will be delighted that I have put it in writing that the name was her idea. She deserves all the credit.



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