John Harlow, one of the founders of Naked Communications, died over the weekend at a hospital near his home in the UK. He was 45. The cause of death was not disclosed.
Harlow founded Naked in 2000 in London with co-founders Jon Wilkins and Will Collin. The agency was a pioneer in the field of communications planning, a discipline that helps clients optimize their advertising and marketing spending with an approach that is media agnostic.
The firm expanded to New York in 2006. The founders of that office included MT Carney, who went on to become head of marketing at the Walt Disney Company for a time, and well-known agency veterans Paul Woolmington and Neal Davies. The shop made headlines in 2007 when it won a huge communications planning assignment in North America from healthcare and pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson.
In 2008 the agency was sold to Australia’s Photon Group (since renamed Enero Group) for approximately $33 million. By the time it was sold Naked had also established offices in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia, Amsterdam, Oslo, Paris, and Tokyo.
The company’s New York office posted a message on its website confirming the news: “With great sadness we lost one of our founders and brilliant misfits John Harlow…R.I.P.
In a story posted Monday Campaign quoted co-founder Wilkins as saying that Harlow was “one of the most joyful and driven of people. He was such an important part of Naked. He had the foot on the gas all the time. We liked to call ourselves the ‘home for brilliant misfits,' and [he] epitomized that.”
Prior to forming Naked Harlow held posts at Grey Advertising, Motorola and Ford.