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Sean Cummins: I tried to buy Naked

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Sean Cummins

Sean Cummins has revealed he made a bid to buy Naked Communications from holding company Enero earlier this year, before newly minted strategic partner Adam Ferrier joined his agency.

At the Secrets of Agency Excellence (SAGE) conference today Cummins also decried the state of the ad industry at the moment, and claimed the one-stop-shop model of his CumminsRoss agency did not mean clients missed out on good media deals.

On the Naked deal Cummins said: “About eight months ago I rang Matthew Melhuish and he didn’t return my call for about two weeks and when he did I said ‘Hi, I’m Sean, I’d like to buy Naked’.

“There was a gasp, them he said you can’t afford it, Naked is too valuable to us. I got no response so I got Adam instead.”

On the state of the industry he quipped: “People quote David Ogilvy, they don’t quote David Droga. There’s a lot of words going around these days but there’s not a lot of wisdom. I’ve never seen the industry so vapid as we are these days.

“Let’s start embracing what’s happened in the past, we’re not doing much to advance the course of advertising now.”

But Ferrier countered saying he felt while people should look at things like collaboration from the past, the industry was in an “exciting time” with the emergence of new technologies.

Later he expanded on this, saying: “this is the beginning of the golden age of advertising. We have just come out of the Information Age where we did not solve any of the worlds problems, they’re still there.

“Now advertisers are being pulled into world issues and try to solve these through these techniques using things like advertising.”

When asked whether the 3-year-old independent would be big enough for another big personality like Ferrier he said: “I sold my last agency because I was lonely. Basically I was carrying everything, I owned 95 per cent of it.

“This time around it would not be around me. I would have my name in the agency , but I wanted friends and colleagues. They are partners in equity, they and Adam have bought into it.

“I get to collaborate with great people. David Ogilvy said hire people who are better than you, and he is far better than me.”

Ferrier added: “one of the things I’ve discovered is people with big personalities is they want other people with big personalities to have a point of view, so they can sort things out.”

Alex Hayes 

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