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Naked's Wilkins hits out at UK's advertising agencies

BUDAPEST - The opening session of Thursday's MRG Conference in Budapest saw managing partner of Naked Communications, Jon Wilkins, criticise the structure of some of the UK's major advertising agencies for preventing media research from taking its place at the 'top table'.

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Wilkins, who was offering his personal view on the state of the industry, told delegates that the structure of agencies such as WPP Group and Carat is "all wrong". He insisted that the increasing automation of the media-buying process would eventually bring agency commission to below 1% and argued that the increasing tendency to maximise profits was stifling media research.

He said: "There are many bright individuals in these agencies but it's not an interesting business to work in."

Wilkins went on to emphasise the fundamental importance of the consumer to media research and argued that it is becoming increasingly difficult to create meaningful dialogue in what is developing into an "overcrowded" media environment.

He explained that the role of media research is changing and suggested that the increasingly proactive demands of clients should inspire the industry to drive itself forward. He said: "Research is the bedrock of the media industry and it should not be hanging on the coat tails of advertising."

However, Wilkins criticised media researchers for being preoccupied with jargon and complex research methodologies. He said: "In terms of media insight, the language we've created is all wrong. We spend too much time aggregating, modelling and systemising people."

He went on to say that the problems began with the separation of media from advertising and argued that the industry should reunite in a push towards media-neutral advice.

Echoing Derek Morris' Keynote lecture the previous day, Wilkins emphasised that consolidation and strategic planning should be vital components of media research. He said: "Researchers can be the driving force of media neutrality as it is the most impartial in the industry."

He called on delegates to focus on simple, insightful research that is not fragmented by different media channels and concluded by urging the industry to "break free from the shackles of advertising".

Report compiled by MediaTel. For more information visit MediaTel.

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