Why DDB’s New Agency Banned the Word “Merch”

Brands, collaborations, merch: three words that, when put together, will either send shivers down your spine, or will have you flying through checkout to get your hands on a limited edition drop. It seems that Darko Silajdžić, executive group chairman at DDB Prague, falls into the first category. With his recently launched agency DDB Fresh, he’s set on helping “non-fashion brands” put out garments and collections which have innovation, aesthetics, and sustainable principles baked in. It’s a tall order, but one that seems increasingly necessary in a world of brand crossovers that feel throwaway at best, entirely wasteful at worst.

The new agency was born out of DDB Prague, where Silajdžić has spent ten out of his 20 years in advertising. After eight years as CEO of DDB Prague, he became executive group chairman, and now has four agencies and studios under his watch. One of these is the gaming agency DDB For The Win, which the Prague office set up around three years ago, and now spans around 20 markets. With DDB Fresh, however, the idea is to keep operations small for now, and deliver fewer projects with a bigger impact. “So quality over quantity, definitely,” he says.


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