I wanted to start off by saying we’re big fans — our office houses a bunch of longtime iPhone users. We’re devoted iMessagers and steadfast Siri supporters. So, we’re super excited about the upcoming launch of your next iPhone, and have heard the rumors that you’re calling it the “iPhone 6S.” We would like to urge you to reconsider.
See, our company name is 6S Marketing, but our clients, friends, and colleagues simply refer to us as good ol’ “6S.” It’s a small name but a big part of our identity — one we’ve been using since 2000, when we started this company in my tiny apartment. At that time, we didn’t think that one of the biggest, and most well-respected, companies would use it to name a mobile device. (We were still using Motorola flip phones at the time, after all.)
The reason we chose the name “6S” is that it sounds like “success” (get it?). The story is a short one, so perhaps we can borrow another six(ty) seconds of your time.
It all started on Christmas break 1989, when I was 12 years old. We were on a family vacation in Hawaii and my Dad, Peter Breikss, had the idea of driving up the Mt. Haleakala volcano to see the sunrise. This meant we woke up at 5:00 am to drive the Haleakala Highway. All this time, we were behind a Mercedes-Benz that had the license plate “SSS SSS.” We tried to guess what the meaning behind the license plate was (beyond sounding like a snake hissing). After some deliberation, my father figured out that the six S’s sounded like “successes” and, given the car was a Mercedes, perhaps that’s what the license plate was referring to! How clever, I thought.
Fast forward a dozen years to when I was working in marketing for a now-defunct software company called Infowave, and considering starting my own marketing consulting firm. While discussing the idea with my father, he said, “I always liked the name ‘6S Marketing’ for a marketing company. 6S sounds like success.” My father worked in marketing for much of his career and the apple (no pun intended) had not fallen far from the tree.
A short while later, I was looking to join forces with my good friend and online marketing colleague John Blown in starting a new venture. Combined, we didn’t have many clients or start-up capital — until one day, when we landed a $9,000 project out of California. I wanted us to appear like a bigger and more significant organization, so when the client asked “Who should I make the cheque out to?” I responded without thinking, “6S Marketing!” When I went to deposit it to purchase the media funds, the teller asked me for our incorporation documents — much to my surprise. Oops.
I quickly called John and we decided to incorporate the name straight away so we could set the bank account up and deposit the money. Even though we weren’t 100% on the name just yet, we were stuck with it as it was already printed on the cheque.
Now, the name “6S” has stuck in a good way!
We’re celebrating our 15th year as a company in November. Our team is small but mighty— 35 hardworking people with offices in New York, Toronto, and Vancouver. We use the hashtag #WeAre6S to highlight our unique and fun company culture.
So, why shouldn’t you name the next iPhone “6S?” And why the billboards?
#WeAre6S Billboard in Times Square in New York
We wanted to save a little space in the world for our company’s history, and we thought this was a fun way to tell our story and what “6S” means to us. (We would’ve run an open letter in the New York Times, but the billboards fit a bit better within our budget.)
Hopefully, this message will reach you in time and you’ll reconsider leaving “6S” to the originals — we’ve been rocking it since the millennium, after all.