Everybody's first choice as number one, Smith is a cerebral biker who has been turning up at the Zenith offices in his leathers since the agency's inception. A television programming expert and the brains behind the publication Zenith on TV, Smith is regularly called upon by the advertising press to air his views on subjects as disparate as agency expansion in the developing world, newspaper audiences and the quality of ITV's The Forsyte Saga. Smith has been rewarded for his all-round general cleverness with the grandiose title of head of knowledge management. What's more, as our picture testifies, he's also authored a book about the Beatles.
2. DAVID FLETCHER, DIRECTOR AND HEAD OF MEDIALAB, MEDIAEDGE:CIA
Anyone with a degree in physics must have something going on upstairs. Fletcher is a leading authority on the development of digital media. He likes to tackle the non-essential research issues before outside events render them fashionable, commissioning reports into matters such as media consumption among ethnic minorities and marketing accountability through the eyes of financial directors.
3. SHEILA BYFIELD, DIRECTOR OF CONSUMER INSIGHT, MINDSHARE
Byfield has been a bit of a clever clogs in various sectors. She has worked in print, spent more than a decade in commercial television and completed a five-year stint at Ogilvy & Mather. It looks like she's finally found her niche - last year, MindShare offered her "the best research job in the world" to prevent her being poached by OMD.
4. NIGEL SHELDON, MANAGING PARTNER, MINDSHARE, AND ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, THE HENLEY CENTRE
A specialist in digital media and a founder member of JWT Digital, Sheldon is credited as the man behind the world's first media foray into interactive TV advertising with an execution for Kellogg's Frosties. The latest chapter in his 14-year WPP career saw him take responsibility for advising clients about future trends in new media as an associate director of the Henley Centre.
5. PHIL GULLEN, HEAD OF INTERNATIONAL, CARAT INSIGHT
Gullen is a founder member of Carat Insight (formerly Carat Research) and is credited with the invention of the Consumer Connections Study, which studies the brand preferences of a panel of 10,000. He gave his eyes a well-earned break from surveys, data and statistics last year, but soon returned as Carat Insight's head of international.
6. ANDREW INGRAM, ACCOUNT PLANNING DIRECTOR, RADIO ADVERTISING BUREAU
Ingram is responsible for the content of the free services provided by the RAB, such as seminars, books, workshops, websites and conferences. His research career began at the Daily Mail, and on his way to the RAB he found time to write two books - Wireless Wisdom and Understanding Radio. Equally comfortable in a planner's hat, Ingram also won the 1992 Advertising Effectiveness Award for the launch of Direct Line Insurance.
7. FRANK HARRISON, DIRECTOR OF STRATEGIC RESOURCES, ZENITH MEDIA
Harrison too has been with Zenith since the beginning. A quiet, considered individual with a brain like a filing cabinet, Harrison's strength lies in his ability to communicate complicated research in a way accessible to the uninitiated. His most recent project is the survey-based mediaDNA, which helps companies match the personality of their brands with the correct media.
8. JULIAN DOBINSON, HEAD OF SALES RESEARCH, BSKYB
Dobinson was head of planning and research at Granada Media, until BSkyB recognised the calibre of his cranium and made him its representative at Barb. He combines this prestigious but unenviable task with studying the potential of interactive advertising on digital TV.
9. SUE MOSELEY, MANAGING DIRECTOR, INITIATIVE MEDIA FUTURES
Moseley took over from Sue Elms as head of Initiative's strategic research operation, and the media agency is said to be delighted with how the switch has worked out. She formerly worked with the digital consultancy Spectrum and United News & Media's sales operation, TSMS.
10. JIM KITE, DEPUTY REGIONAL DIRECTOR AND GLOBAL RESEARCH DIRECTOR, UNIVERSAL MCCANN
Kite joined Universal in 1997 after spending five years on the client side at BSkyB, as head of research. His media research and strategic insight work is a key part of Universal's new-business drive and the agency values him so highly that it's given him two jobs.