By MATTHEW COWEN, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 15 September 2000 12:00AM
TBWA/London has poached Wieden & Kennedy's Nike account planner, Stephanie McHardie, to head a new strategic research unit at the agency.
McHardie will take charge of the embryonic Context Unit, intended to develop new forms of consumer intelligence for the agency beyond traditional focus groups and tracking research. There are understood to be plans to open similar units within the TBWA Worldwide group.
'The desire is to find original and fresh consumer intelligence that will enable us to create brand ideas that are bigger and better than their categories,' the planning director, Neil Hourston, said.
McHardie's unit will feed trend information into TBWA's planning department, which is undergoing a parallel expansion under Hourston. The company has poached Leagas Delaney's Harrods planner, Caroline Abramowitz, to run the Thomas Cook, Unicef and Liberty accounts, while Paul Shearman joins from BMP DDB to take over the Nissan and Virgin One business.
The agency is also looking to fill a third senior planning role that will cover Scottish Courage, Axa, PlayStation UK and Ask Jeeves.
'This represents an enormous commitment to the discipline,' TBWA's chief executive, Simon Clemmow, said. 'A shift from account planning to ideas planning requires more than just a cosmetic change.'
This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk