J Walter Thompson has hired The Henley Centre’s media expert, James Walker, to expand the agency’s research, strategic thinking and consultancy resources.
Walker, previously director of media consultancy at The Henley Centre, has a remit to create a new department within JWT that will seek to reclaim some of the research and planning highground from the likes of Carat Research, he says.
“JWT will be making a substantial investment so that a team of two or three researchers will be boosted to six or seven of the best brains in the business,” says Walker. “We want to put together an intellectual powerhouse with people who are capable of acute business thinking.”
Walker says the new unit will also be developing closer relationships with the likes of the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers and programme makers to broaden the scope of the media department’s activities.
“Industry debate is out of touch with the reality of how people consume media,” he says. “Talking about TV ratings between the sales house and the buyer is no longer enough.”
The new unit will also seek to expand the amount of revenue JWT brings in from offering consultancy services to media owners and the media community.