Naked and BMF to merge

The Naked agency as it stands is no more, with the team and its clients to be absorbed into creative agency BMF.

As part of the merger, Naked MD Tim Kirby is to leave the business once the two agencies are combined.

Matthew Melhuish, Enero Group CEO, said: “We are creating a stronger business that has even more potential”

Holding group Enero said the move is part of its strategy of “reimagining the future and building strong businesses that take advantage of the changing marketing landscape”.

Naked launched in the UK in 2000 and quickly shook up the agency landscape. It came to Australia four years later and positioned itself as a media-neutral agency which ensured marketers got a better return on investment.

The company became Australian-owned when the then-Photon Group acquired it, but by 2015 there were signs of change as the Enero Group looked to “realign cost-bases” and “stabilise revenue”. It also flagged its intentions to the transition Naked from being “thinkers” to “makers”. 

During its heyday, Naked in Australia was spearheaded by a number of prominent Australian adland figures.

Adam Ferrier, who has since gone on to found creative and now media agency Thinkerbell, was the founding partner and global head of strategy between 2004 and 2013.

Mat Baxter, now CEO of Initiative on a global scale was founding partner and CEO for Asia Pacific from 2004 to 2009, while Mike Wilson, now CEO of Havas Media in Australia, was founder and chairman until 2013.

By 2017, the group had closed Naked’s operations in the UK after also folding the US outfit into another of the group’s companies. At the time, however, the holding group backed the Australian operation and said it continued to perform well.

When asked by Mumbrella in late November last year if BMF and Naked were set to come together, Kirby, managing director, flat out denied the move.

“This is categorically not true. BMF and Naked are not merging,” he said.

Now, however, BMF will absorb Naked’s team and clients, with the BMF branding to be retained.

The group said the merger will strengthen its strategic and creative offering to clients and help marketers navigate their increasingly complex landscapes.

“We are proud that both BMF and Naked are successful businesses that were performing well,” CEO of Enero Matthew Melhuish said.

“We believe that by merging them together we can harness the strengths of both agencies to create something even stronger.”

The opportunities of the combined group, Melhuish said, are now greater.

“As we continue to reimagine the future for Enero and look to build strong businesses to take advantage of the changing marketing landscape, we saw a great opportunity to bring together the skills within Naked and BMF.

“By adding Naked’s strength in media-neutral strategy and innovative creativity to a BMF team who are already performing brilliantly, we are creating a stronger business that has even more potential. Both agencies have great clients and produce great work; I’m excited to see what they will produce now they are working together,” he said.

Stephen McArdle, managing director of BMF, said he was excited to have the teams join forces.

Naked is no more

“BMF and Naked have always shared a belief in the power of creativity to deliver outstanding results for our clients and a reputation for world-class strategic thinking. Naked was born of a focus on unconventional thinking that has been the hallmark of the Naked brand since conception. BMF’s focus is on delivering enduring ideas for brands and maintaining an obsession with effectiveness,” he said.

“We are incredibly excited about our teams joining forces. They have impressive talent, great clients, a fantastic entrepreneurial spirit and a breed of work that we have long admired and that will further enhance the creative output.”

Melhuish also thanked Kirby for his service to the agency.

“I’d like to thank Tim for everything he has given to Naked over the past eight years. He has built, evolved and guided the business and proven himself to be an outstanding leader. The quality of the team he has developed is a testament to his efforts.”

Kirby, Naked’s outgoing managing director, added: “I’ve loved being a part of Naked. I’ve learnt from the best, worked with the best, and hopefully played a role in developing some of the future’s best.

“I’m proud of our outstanding people, thankful to our wonderful clients, and delighted with the work we’ve made together. I think some of Naked’s entrepreneurial and challenging DNA always stays with those who have worked here, so now I’m excited about using that in the next stage in my career.”

With additional earlier reporting by Abigail Dawson 


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